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POETICAL WORKS 



JOHN KEATS. 



WITH A MEMOIR BY RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES. 



ILLUSTRATED BY 1 DESIGNS, ORIGINAL AND FROM THE ANTIQUE, 
DRAWN ON WOOD BY 

GEORGE RCIIARF, .Tun., F.S.A., F.R.S.L. 



LONDON : 
EDWARD MOXON, DOVER STREET. 

1854. 



CONTENTS. 

Page 

MEMOIR i 

ENDYMION : A Poetic Romance 1 

LAMIA 153 

ISABELLA, OR THE POT OF BASIL: A Story, from Boccaccio . 185 

THE EVE OF ST. AGNES . . . . . .211 

HYPERION 231 

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS : 

DEDICATION TO LEIGH HUNT, ESQ. ..... 272 

"l STOOD TIPTOE UPON A LITTLE HILL " . . . . . 273 

SPECIMEN OF AN INDUCTION TO A POEM .... 282 

CALIDORE : A FRAGMENT 285 

TO SOME LADIES, ON RECEIVING A CURIOUS SHELL . . . 292 

ON RECEIVING A COPY OF VERSES FROM THE SAME LADIES . 294 

TO 297 

TO HOPE 300 

IMITATION OF SPENSER 302 

"WOMAN! WHEN I BEHOLD THEE FLIPPANT, VAIN," . . 303 

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE ........ 305 



ri CONTENTS. 

MI- Tl I \ . MS (continual) : 

P*e 

ODK OH A GRECIAN URN 309 

ODE To PSTCH1 312 

FAROT 315 

ODI 818 

T< AITUMN 321 

ODE OX HBLABOHOLT 838 

LINES ON THE MERMAID TAVERN ..... 32/5 

R BIS rood .......... :'. - J7 

BLBBP AND POBTRY 330 

STARRA8 345 

BPI8TLBS: 

T< QEOBOR FBI/TOR MATHEW ...... 347 

To MY BROTHER OBOROl ....... 3;*>1 

T.. . -hahi.es COWDER CLARKE 3. r >7 

i - 

To \ KRIENM WHO SENT ME SOME ROSES . . . 869 

To MV BROTHER GEORGE ....... 3fi3 

to 868 

' iti i'k ! ik i mist with thee dwell " . . . 3fi4 
"how mart bards oild the lapses ov rats!*' ... 

* : * w 

WRITTRR OR THR LAY THAT MR. LEI OH HINT LETT MUM 

To my BROTH RR 

IDDRESPED To RATDOR ...... 867 

THE SAME .,fiS 

OR rtRCT LOORtRC IET0 OHAPMAK's HOMES . ... 868 



CONTENTS. vii 

SONNETS (continued): 

l'ajje 

on leaving some friends at an early hour . . . 369 

"keen fitful ousts are whispering here and there" . 369 

"to one who has been long in city pent" . . . 370 

on the grasshopper and cricket 371 

to kosciusko 372 

"happy is england ! i could be content" . . . 372 

the human seasons 373 

on a picture of leander ....... 374 

to ailsa rock 375 







LIST OF THE PEINCIPAL ILLUSTEATIONS. 



MEMOIR : 

Engraved by 

HEAD OF KEATS, FROM A MEDALLION BY GIUSEPPE 1 _ 
GIROMETTI, OF ROME . . . .J 

ENDYMION : 

DIANA AND ENDYMION, FROM A SARCOPHAGUS 1 nriy amg 
IN THE CAPITOL AT ROME . . . J 

. VIEW OP LATMOS, FROM THE IONIAN ANTIQUITIES 1 
OF THE DILETTANTI SOCIETY . . . J 

HEADS . OP DIANA, OCEANUS, AND DIOSCURI, 1 
FROM AN ALTAR IN THE LOUVRE . . J 

SLEEPING ENDYMION, A STATUE IN THE BRITISH ] ___. 

' > Williams 

MUSEUM . . . . . .J 

SACRIFICE TO PAN Williams 

ENDYMION AND PEONA IN THE BOAT . . Thompson . 

DIANA AND ENDYMION, FROM A POMPEIAN 1 ... 

y Williams 

PAINTING . . . . . . J 

ENDYMION at temple grove . . . Thompson . 

ALTAR WITH FRUIT, AN ANTIQUE SCULPTURE"! ___. 

' y Williams 

FROM EPHESUS . . . . . . J 

DIANA OP GABII, A STATUE IN THE LOUVRE "I ....... 

' > Williams 

HALF-TITLE TO BOOK II. . . .J 

ENDYMION AND NAIAD ..... Thompson 
ADONIS, FROM A POMPEIAN PAINTING AND ANCIENT 1 ___. 

y Williams . 

SCULPT I/JIE . . . . . .J 



Page 



LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL ILLUSTRATIONS. 



ENDYMION (continued):- 



SLEEPING ENDYMION, AN ALTO-RELIEVO IN THE 



Engraved by 
Williams 



CAPITOL ..... 
MARINE GROTTO Cooper 

NEPTUNE, FROM A SCULPTURE IN THE VILLA ") 

y Willian 

AI.UANI HALF-TITLE TO BOOK III. . . J 

MARINE TEMPLE Cooper 

DIANA AS TIIR MOON, FROM A BA8-RELIEF IN 
THE CAHTOL HALF-TITLE TO BOOK IV. . 

HRITISH MUSE 



BACCHANALIAN PROCESSION, LAS-RELIEF IN TH 
CAPITOL ..... 



:] 



LAMIA 



LAMIA AT PORCH, POMPEIAN PAINTING HALF 
TITLE TO PART I. 

FEMALE IN SERPENT . 

NYMPH-SNAKE, FROM A VASK-PAINTINO 

LAMIA MEETING LYCICS .... 

APOLLONIUS PASSING BY 

A FESTIVAL HALF-TITLE TO PART II, 

LAMIA FADING 

SERPENT 



Williams 
Williams 
WiMams 

TJiompson 



ISABELLA :- 

BASIL HALF-TITLE TO ISABELLA . 
MABB 1L A AND LORENZO .... 

THE MURDER 

THE DREAM 

ISAIIEM.A AT THE GRAVE 

THE BROTHERS WATCHING ISABELLA. 

BAS,L - P T 



Page 
72 

75 



108 
117 
119 
127 

153 



Thompson 


. 155 


Williaras 


. 159 


Thompson 


. 164 


Thompson . 


. 169 


Thompson 


. 171 


Thompson . 


. 182 


Williams 


. 184 



Williams . 


. 185 


Thompson 


. 189 


Tliompson . 


. 200 


Thompson 


. 201 


Thompson . 


. 205 


Tliompson 


. 209 


Williams 


. 210 



LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL ILLUSTRATIONS. 


xi 


THE EVE OF ST. AGNES: 


Engraved by 


Paxe 


SHRINE OF ST. AGNES HALF-TITLE . . . 


Cooper 


. 211 


PORPHYEO AND ANGELA .... 


Williams 


. 217 


PORPHYRO GAZING ON MADELINE . . . 


Cooper 


. 223 


THE ESCAPE 


Cooper 


. 228 


HYPERION : 






SATURN AND RHEA, FROM AN ALTAR IN THE 


V Williams 


. 231 


CAPITOL HALF-TITLE TO BOOK I. . 


SATURN AND THEA 


Williams 


. 233 


THE NURSING OF JUPITER. FLAXMAN . 


Williams 


. 237 


THREE GODS OF OLYMPUS, FROM A RELIEF IN 


Y Williams 


. 239 


THE VATICAN ...... 






HYPERION ENTERING ..... 


Thompson . 


. 243 


HYPERION . 


Thompson 


. 246 


SATURN DEVOURING HIS CHILDREN. FLAXMAN 1 


Williams 


. 249 


HALF-TITLE TO BOOK II 






EMBLEMS OF PLUTO, JUPITER, AND NEPTUNE . 


Williams 


. 251 


CYBELE AND TITANS 


Thompson . 


. 251 


YOUNG NEPTUNE . .' . . . . 


Williams 


. 259 


YOUNG APOLLO. FLAXMAN .... 


Williams 


. 265 


MNEMOSYNE AND THE INFANT APOLLO . . 


Williams 


. 268 


MNEMOSYNE AND APOLLO .... 


Williams 


. 270 


MISCELLANEOUS POEMS: 






LANDSCAPE 


Williams 


. 273 


CUPID AND PSYCHE, A GROUP IN THE CAPITOL . 


Williams . 


. 278 


SPENSER 


Thompson 


. 282 


CAL1DORE ON LAKE ..... 


Williams 


. 285 


KNIGHT AND LADIES ... . . 


Williams 


. 289 


SHELL ....... 


Williams 


. 292 


PORTRAIT OF A LADY 


Thompson 


. 297 



xii LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL ILLUSTRATIONS. 

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS (continued) : 

Engraved by Page 

GRECIAN VASE, FROM THE BOROHESE COLLECTION 1 Thom ^ an ( %qq 

IN THE LOUVRE . . . . . J 

DANCING FIGURES, FROM THE SAME VA8E . . Tiiompson . 310 

SACRIFICE, from the trajan column . . Thompson . 311 



POSSESSION OK 9. | Thompgon 



312 



PSYCHE. FLAXMAN. IN THE 
ROGERS, ESQ. 

THREE SEASONS, FROM THE VILLA ALBANI . Thompson . . 321 

GENIUS OF SLEEP, A STATUE IN THE VATICAN . Williams . 330 

BACCHUS AND ARIADNE, BY TITIAN . . Williams . . 341 

TREE IN WINTER Tliompson . 345 

EPISTLES : 

SHEPHERDESS READING .... Williams . . 354 

SONNETS : 

haydon ........ Thompson 367 

GRASSHOPPER AND PARROT, FROM POMPEII . Williams . . 371 

LEANDER, FROM A MEDALLION . . . . Williams . 374 



Where no reference is given, the Illustrations are original. The introduc- 
tion of wild-flowers was suggested by the poet's delight in them, mentioned at 
p. xxxvii. of the Memoir. G. S. 





MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 



RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES. 



The "Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John 
Keats," published in 1848, contain the biography of the Poet, 
mainly conveyed in the language of his own correspondence. 
The Editor had little more to do than to arrange and con- 
nect the letters freely supplied to him by kinsmen and 
friends, and leave them to tell as sad, and, at the same time, 
as ennobling a tale of life as ever engaged the pen of poetic 
fiction. But these volumes can scarcely be in the hands of 
all to whose hours of study or enjoyment the Poems of 
Keats may find ready access ; and thus it has been desired 
that the Editor should transcribe into a few pages the 



ii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

characteristics of an existence in itself so short, but radiant 
with genius and rich in virtue. 

The publication of three small volumes of verse, some 
earnest friendships, one profound passion, and a premature 
death, are the main incidents here to be recorded ordinary 
indeed, and common to many men whose names have passed, 
and are passing, away, and here only notable, as illustrating 
the wonderful nature and progress of certain mental faculties, 
and as exhibiting a character which inspires the deepest 
human sympathy amidst all its demands on our admiration. 

John Keats was born on the 29th of October, 1795, in 
the upper rauk of the middle-class, his mother possessing 
sufficient means to give her children an excellent education, 
when left a widow in 1801. She is reputed to have been a 
woman of saturnine demeanour, but on an occasion of illness, 
John, then a child between four and five years old, remained 
for hours as a sentinel at her door, with a drawn sword, 
that she might not be disturbed : and at her death, which 
occurred when he was at Mr. Clarke's school at Enfield, he 
hid himself for several days in a nook under the master's deslx, 
passionately inconsolable traits of disposition that illus- 
trate his character as a boy, energetic, ardent, and popular. 
" He combined," writes one of his school-fellows," a terrier- 
like resoluteness with the most noble placability ;" and 
another mentions that his singular animation and ability in 
all exercises of skill and courage, impressed them with a 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. iii 

conviction of his future greatness, " but rather in a military 
or some such active sphere of life, than in the peaceful arena 
of literature."* This impression was assisted by the rare 
vivacity of his countenance and much beauty of feature : 
his eyes were large and sensitive, flashing with strong 
emotion or suffused with tender sympathies ; his hair hung in 
thick brown ringlets round a head diminutive for the breadth 
of the shoulders below, while the smallness of the lower 
limbs, which in later life marred the proportion of his 
person was not then apparent, any more than the undue 
prominence of the lower lip, which afterwards gave his face 
too pugnacious a character to be entirely pleasing, but at 
that time only completed such an image as the ancients had 
of Achilles of joyous and glorious youth everlastingly 
striving. 

Careless of an ordinary school-reputation, his zeal for 
the studies themselves led him frequently to spend his 
holidays over Virgil or Fenelon, and when his master forced 
him into the open air for his health, he would be found 
walking with a book in his hand. The scholarship of the 
establishment had no peculiar pretensions, and the boy's 
learning was limited to the elements of a liberal education. 
He was never taught Greek, and he took his mythology 
from Tooke's Pantheon and Lempriere's Dictionary, making 
the affiliation of his mind with the old Hellenic world the 
more marvellous and interesting. It is doubtful whether 

* Mr. E. Holmes, author of the "Life of Mozart," &c. 



iv MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

at any time his information exceeded these scanty limits, 
and it is a curious speculation whether deeper and more 
regular classical studies would have checked or encouraged 
the natural consanguinity, so to say, of his fancy with the 
ideal life of ancient Greece, and whether a more distinct 
knowledge of what the old mythology really meant, would, 
or would not, have hindered that reconstruction of forms 

' ' Not yet dead, 
But in old marbles ever beautiful, " 

which is now not the less agreeable from being the evolution 
of his unlearned and unaided imagination. 

Mr. Charles Cowden Clarke, the son of his preceptor, 
remained the friend of Keats, when removed from school in 
1810, and apprenticed for five years to a surgeon of some 
eminence at Edmonton. This intelligent companion supplied 
him with books, which he eagerly perused, but so little 
expectation was formed of the direction in which his talents 
lay, that when in 1812, he asked for the loan of Spenser's 
Fairy Queen, Mr. Clarke remembers that the family were 
amused at the ambitious desires of their former pupil. He 
must indeed have known something of Shakspeare, for he had 
told a young school-fellow that " he thought no one would 
dare to read Macbeth alone at two o'clock in the morning;" 
but it was Spenser that struck the secret spring and 
opened the flood-gates of his fancy. " He ramped through 
the scenes of the romance," writes Mr. Clarke, "like a 
young horse turned into a spring meadow :" he could talk 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. v 

of nothing else : his countenance would light up at each 
rich expression, and his strong frame would tremble with 
emotion as he read. The lines " in imitation of Spenser " are 
the earliest known verses of his composition, and to the very 
last the traces of this main impulse of his poetic life are visible. 
But few memorials remain of his other studies : there is a 
" Sonnet to Byron " of little merit, dated 1814 ; one of much 
grace and juvenile conceit on Chaucer's Tale of the 
" Flower and the Leaf," written on the blank leaf, while his 
friend was asleep over the book ; and one of most clear 
thought and noble diction, " On first looking into Chap- 
man's Homer." It was to Mr. Clarke again that he owed 
his introduction to this fine interpretation, which preserves 
so much of the heroic simplicity and the metre of which, 
after all various attempts, including that of the hexameter, 
still appears the best adapted, from its length and its powers, 
to represent in English the Greek epic verse. Unable to 
read the original, Keats had long stood by Homer as a great 
dumb name, and now he read it all night long, with intense 
delight, even shouting aloud, when some especial passage 
struck his imagination. 

The "Epistles" to his friends and his brother George, 
then a clerk in London, indicate a rapid development of 
the poetic faculty, especially free from the formalism and 
imitation which encumber the early writings even of distin- 
guished poets, and full of an easy gaiety, which at times 
runs into conversational common-place, or helps itself out 



vi MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

of difficulties by quaintnesses that look like affectations. 
But, even in these first efforts, the peculiarity of making 
the rhymes to rest on the most picturesque and Varied 
words, instead of the conventional resonance of unimportant 
syllables, is distinctive, and an effect is produced which 
from its very novelty often mars the force and beauty of 
the expression, and lowers the sense of poetic harmony into 
an ingenious concurrence of sounds. It is also a palpable 
consequence of this mode of composition, that the sense 
appears too often made for the rhyme, and, while most poets 
would be loth to allow how frequently the necessity of the 
rhyme suggests the corresponding thought, here the un- 
common prominence of the rhyme keeps this effect constantly 
before the reader. Yet, when approached with sympathetic 
feeling and good will, this impression soon vanishes before 
the astonishing affluence of thought and imagination, which 
at once explains and excuses the defect, if it be one. Picture 
after picture seems to rise before the poet's eye in a suc- 
cession so rapid as to embarrass judgment and limit choice, 
and fancies and expressions that elsewhere would be strange 
and tar-fetched are here felt to have been the first suggested. 

When Keats's apprenticeship was over, and he removed to 
London to " walk the hospitals," he soon became acquainted 
with men capable of appreciating and cultivating his genius. 
Among the foremost Leigh I hint welcomed him with a 
sympathy that ripened into friendship, and the sonnet 
" on the day Leigh Hunt left prison," attests the earnest- 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. vii 

ness of reciprocal affection. They read and walked much 
together, and wrote in competition on subjects proposed. 
Much has been said of the influence of this connection on 
the writings of Keats, and much of their mannerism has 
been traced to this source. The justice of this supposition 
is more than doubtful, and the stupid malevolence of the 
criticisms which mainly sustained it is now too well exposed 
to require refutation. It is indeed probable that the fresh 
mind of Keats was directed by Hunt into many of the 
channels which had delighted his own, and that peculiarities 
that had taken the fancy of the one were easily pressed on 
the imagination of the other. But Keats always defended 
himself energetically against the notion that he belonged to 
Leigh Hunt's or any other school. " I refused " he wrote 
" to visit Shelley, that I might have my own unfettered 
scope," and he never ceased to desire to bear all the defects 
of his own originality. It is no contradiction to this to 
infer, that if the talents of Keats had been subjected to the 
discipline of a complete and regular classical education, and 
a self-distrust inculcated by the continual presence of the 
highest original models of thought and form, he would have 
escaped very much of the mannerism which accompanied 
his early efforts ; but it may be doubted whether the well- 
trained plant would have thrown out such luxurious shoots 
and expanded into such rare and delightful foliage. The 
most that can be said of the influence of Leigh Hunt and 
his friends on Keats 'was that he became obnoxious to those 
evils which inevitably beset every literary coterie, that he 



viii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

learned rather to encourage than to restrain individual 
peculiarities, and to demand a public and permanent 
attention for matters that could only justly claim a private 
and personal interest. But on the other hand it is impossi- 
ble to deny that in this genial atmosphere the faculty of the 
young poet ripened with incredible facility, and advantages 
of literary culture were afforded which no just critic can 
disparage or conceal. Chatterton eating out his heart in his 
desolate lodging and ignoble service to low magazines, or 
Burns drinking down thought in country taverns and town 
society little more refined, afford mournful contrasts to the 
pleasant and elevating associations enjoyed by Keats during 
his residence in London, which he would have been the last 
to undervalue. Hazlitt, Ilaydon, Godwin, Basil Montague 
and his remarkable family, and many other persons of 
literary and artistic reputation received him with kindness : 
Mr. Reynolds, whose poems written under feigned names are 
full of merit, Mr. Dilke, whose intelligent criticism, large 
information, and manly sense, have had so beneficial an effect 
on the modern history of English letters, Archdeacon 
Bailey, and Severn the poetical painter, became his devoted 
friends: while in Mr. Oilier, himself a poet, and aftenviinls 
in Messrs. Taylor and Hessey, he found considerate and 
liberal publishers. 

It soon became apparent that the profession for which 
young Keats was destined was too unsuitable to be main- 
tained. There remain careful annotations on the lectures 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. ix 

he attended, but when he had once entered on the practical 
part of his business, although successful in all his operations, 
he found his mind so oppressed with an over-wrought 
apprehension of doing harm, that he determined on abandon- 
ing the course of life to which he had devoted a considerable 
portion of his small fortune. " My dexterity " he said, 
" used to seem to me a miracle, and I resolved never to take 
up a surgical instrument again." The little volume of 
poems, the beloved first-born, scarcely touched the public 
attention : it was not even observed as a sign of the 
existence of a new Cockney poet, whom the critic was bound 
to silence or to convert, or as the production of a new 
member of the revolutionary propaganda, to be hunted down 
with ridicule or obloquy. These honours were reserved 
for maturer labours. The characteristic lines, 

" Glory and loveliness have passed away, &c," 

were written in the midst of a merry circle of friends, who 
happened to be present when the printer sent to say that 
if there was to be a dedication he must send it directly ; 
and he did so, for the main thought, the regeneration of the 
images of Pagan beauty, was ever present with him. His 
health at this time was far from good, and in* the spring of 
1817, he returned to the quiet of the Isle of Wight to write 
" Endymion," a subject long germinating in his fancy, and 
thus shadowed out in the first poem of his early volume : 

" He was a poet, sure a lover too, 
Who stood on Latmus' top, what time there hlew 
Soft breezes from the myrtle vale below ; 



x MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

And brought, in faintness solemn, sweet, and slow, 
A hymn from Dian's temple ; while upswelling, 
The incense rose to her own starry dwelling. 
But tho' her face was clear as infants' eyes, 
Tho' she stood smiling o'er the sacrifice, 
The poet wept at her so piteous fate, 
Wept that such beauty should be desolate : 
So in fine wrath some golden sounds he won, 
And gave meek Cynthia her Endymion." 

The solitude was not very propitious to his work, but 
he composed some other good verses, such as the sonnet 
" On the Sea," and others illustrative of his thoughts and 
feelings at the time. In a letter to Haydon he thus 
expressed himself with a noble humility: "1 must think 
that difficulties nerve the spirit of a man ; they make our 
prime objects a refuge as well as a passion ; the trumpet of 
Fame is as a tower of strength, the ambitious bloweth it, 
and is safe." * * * " There is no greater sin, after the 
seven deadly, than to natter oneself into the idea of being a 
great poet, or one of those beings who are privileged to wear 
out their lives in the pursuit of honour. How comfortable a 
thing it is to feel that such a crime must bring its heavy 
penalty, that if one be a self-deluder, accounts must be 
balanced." Again to Hunt : "I have asked myself so often 
w r hy I should be a Poet more than other men, seeing how 
great a thing it is, how great things are to be gained by it, 
that at last the idea has grown so monstrously beyond my 
seeming power of attainment, that the other day I nearly 
consented with myself to drop into a Phacthon. Yet 'tis a 
disgrace to fail even in a huge attempt, and at this moment 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xi 

I drive the thought from ine. I began my poem about a 
fortnight since, and have done some every day, except travel- 
ling ones." 

In September he visited his friend Bailey, at Oxford, and 

wrote thence as follows: " Believe me, my dear , it is a 

great happiness to me that you are, in this finest part of the 
year, winning a little enjoyment from the hard world. In 
truth, the great Elements we know of, are no mean comfort- 
ers : the open sky sits upon our senses like a sapphire- 
crown ; the air is our robe of state ; the earth is our throne ; 
and the sea a mighty minstrel playing before it able, like 
David's harp, to make such a one as you forget almost the 
tempest- cares of life. '..*' I shall ever feel 
grateful to you for having made known to me so real a 
fellow as Bailey. He delights me in the selfish, and, please 
God, the disinterested part of my disposition. If the old 
Poets have any pleasure in looking down at the enjoyers ol 
their works, their eyes must bend with double satisfaction 
upon him. I sit as at a feast when he is over them, and 
pray that if, after my death, any of my labours should be 
worth saving, they may have as ' honest a chronicler ' as 
Bailey. Out of this, his enthusiasm in his own pursuit 
and for all good things is of an exalted kind, worthy a 
more healthful frame and an untorn spirit. He must have 
happy years to come ; ' he shall not die by God.' "* 

* In p. 62 of the "Life and Letters of Keats," the hiographer spoke of 
the decease of Mr. Bailey : he had been erroneously informed as to that 



xii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

Some later extracts from letters to this excellent friend 
are interesting ; they were part of the occupation of the 
winter of 1817-18, which Keats passed at Hampstead among 
his friends, perhaps the happiest period of his life. " I have 
heard Hunt say, 'Why endeavour after a long poem?' to 
which I should answer, ' Do not the lovers of poetry like 
to have a little region to wander in, where they may pick 
and choose, and in which the images are so numerous that 
many are forgotten and found new in a second reading, 
which may be food for a week's stroll in the summer. * * * 
Besides, a long poem is a test of Invention, which I take 
to be the polar-star of poetry, as Fancy is the sails, and 
Imagination the rudder. Did our great Poets ever write 
short pieces ? I mean, in the shape of tales. This same 
Invention seems indeed of late years to have been for- 
gotten as a poetical excellence.' But enough of this, I put 
on no laurels till I shall have finished Endymion." 

" One thing has pressed upon me lately and increased my 
humility and capability of submission, and that is this 
truth: men of genius are great as certain ethereal che- 
micals operating on the mass of neutral intellect, but 
they have not any individuality, any determined eharactae. 
I would call the top and head of those who have a proper 
self, Men of Power." * * * * * "I wish I was 



event, but he regrets to add that the newspapers, within the b 
weeks, record the death of Archdeacon Bailey, lately returned from Ceylon, 
where he had long resided. 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xiii 

as certain of the end of all your troubles as that 
of your momentary start about the authenticity of the 
Imagination. I am certain of nothing but of the holiness 
of the heart's affections, and the truth of Imagination. 
"What the Imagination seizes as Beauty must be Truth, 
whether it existed before or not ; for I have the same idea 
of all our passions as of Love ; they are all, in their sublime, 
creative of essential Beauty. The Imagination may be com- 
pared to Adam's dream : he awoke and found it Truth. I 
am more zealous in this affair, because I have never yet been 
able to perceive how anything can be known for Truth by 
consecutive reasoning, and yet it must be so. Can it be 
that even the greatest philosopher ever arrived at his goal 
without putting aside numerous objections ? However it 
may be, O for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts ! 
It is ' a vision in the form of youth,' a shadow of reality to 
come, and this consideration has further convinced me, for 
it has come as auxiliary to another speculation of mine, 
that we shall enjoy ourselves hereafter by having what we 
call happiness on earth repeated in a finer tone. And yet 
such a fate can only befall those who delight in Sensation, 
rather than hunger, as you do, after Truth. Adam's dream 
will do here, and seems to be a conviction that Imagination 
and its empyreal reflection is the same as human life and its 
spiritual repetition. But, as I was saying, the simple imagi- 
native mind may have its rewards in the repetition of its 
own silent working coming continually on the spirit with a 
fine suddenness. To compare great things with small, 



xiv MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

have you never, by being surprised with an old melody, in 
a delicious place, by a delicious voice, felt over again your 
very speculations and surmises at the time it first operated 
on your soul ? Do you not remember forming to yourself 
the singer's face more beautiful than it was possible, and 
yet, with the elevation of the moment, you did not think so ? 
Even then you were mounted on the wings of Imagination, 
so high that the prototype must be hereafter : that delicious 
face you will see. Sure this cannot be exactly the case with 
a complex mind one that is imaginative and, at the same 
time, careful of its fruits, who would exist partly on sensa- 
tion, partly on thought, to whom it is necessary that 
1 years should bring the philosophic mind ?' Such an one I 
consider yours, and therefore it is necessary to your eternal 
happiness that you not only drink this old wine of Heaven, 
which I shall call the redigestion of our most ethereal 
musings on earth, but also increase in knowledge, and 
know all things." 

This self-drawn picture of the mind, or rather the tempe- 
rament, of Keats might well inspire painful reflections. If 
this were a completely true representation, it is evident 
that those sensuous appetites, and that yearning for enjoy- 
ment which has made his poetry the wail and remonstrance 
of a disinherited Paganism, must ere long have worn away 
all manliness of character and degenerated into a peevish sen- 
timentalism. But he was preserved from this destiny by the 
strong presence of counteracting qualities, unselfish bene- 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xv 

volence, a sturdy love of right, and that main security and 
test of moral earnestness, a deep sense of honour. In this 
spirit he wrote about the same time to his brothers after 
asserting that works of genius are the finest things in this 
world "No ! for that sort of probity and disinterestedness 
which such men as Bailey possess does hold and grasp the 
tip-top of any spiritual honours that can be paid to anything 
in this world. And, moreover, having this feeling at this 
present come over me in its full force, I sat down to write 
to you with a grateful heart, in that I had not a brother who 
did not feel and credit me for a deeper feeling and devotion 
for his uprightness, than for any marks of genius, however 
splendid." 

With a great work on hand and in improved health he 
seems at this time to have enjoyed himself thoroughly. 
His bodily vigour must have been considerable, for he sig- 
nalised himself one day by giving a severe drubbing to a 
butcher whom he caught beating a little boy, to the en- 
thusiastic admiration of a crowd of bystanders. His society 
was much sought after from the agreeable combination of 
earnestness and pleasantry, which distinguished him both 
from graver and gayer men. The good and fine things he 
said gained much by his happy transitions of manner; 
His habitual gentleness gave effect to his occasional bursts 
of indignation, and at the mention of oppression or wrong, 
or at any calumny against those he loved, he rose into 
grave manliness at once and seemed like a tall man. On 



xv MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

one occasion when a falsehood respecting the young artist 
Severn was repeated and dwelt upon, he left the room, 
saying, " he should be ashamed to sit with men who could 
utter and believe such things." Another time, hearing of 
some base conduct, he exclaimed, " Is there no human dust- 
hole into which we can sweep such fellows?" He used to 
complain of the usual character of conversation, and said, 
" If Lord Bacon were alive, and to make a remark in the 
present day in company, the conversation would stop on a 
sudden." 

To the production of Endymion, Keats added some charm- 
ing compositions in a lighter style, such as the "Lines on the 
Mermaid Tavern," "Kobin Hood," and "Fancy," showing a 
perfect mastery over the more ordinary and fluent rhythm. 
His sense of the poetic function evidently grew with his 
task. He wrote to Mr. Reynolds, "We hate Poetry that 
has a palpable design upon us, and, if we do not agree, seems 
to put its hand into its breeches pocket. Poetry should be 
great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, 
and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its 
subject. How beautiful are the retired flowers! How 
would they lose their beauty, were they to throng into the 
highway, crying out, 'Admire me, I am a violet! Dote 
upon me, I am a primrose ! ' " 

Again, "When man has arrived at a certain ripeness of 
intellect, any one grand and spiritual passage serves him as a 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xvii 

starting-post towards all 'the two-and-thirty palaces.' How 
happy is such a voyage of conception, what delicious diligent 
indolence ! A doze upon a sofa does not hinder it, and a 
nap upon clover engenders ethereal finger-pointings ; the 
prattle of a child gives it wings, and the converse of middle- 
age a strength to beat them ; a strain of music conducts to 
' an odd angle of the Isle,' and when the leaves whisper, it 
1 puts a girdle round the earth.' Nor will this sparing touch 
of noble books be any irreverence to these writers ; for, per- 
haps, the honours paid by man to man are trifles in com- 
parison to the benefit done by great works to the ' spirit 
and pulse of good ' by their mere passive existence. Memory 
should not be called knowledge. Many have original minds 
who do not think it : they are led away by custom. Now it 
appears to me that almost any man may, like the spider, spin 
from his own inwards, his own airy citadel. The points of 
leaves and twigs on which the spider begins her w r ork are 
few, and she fills the air with a beautiful circuiting. Man 
should be content with as few points to tip with the fine web 
of his soul, and weave a tapestry empyrean full of symbols for 
his spiritual eye, of softness for his spiritual touch, of space 
for his w r andering, of distinctness for his luxury. But the 
minds of mortals are so different and bent on such diverse 
journeys, that it may at first appear impossible for any 
common taste and fellowship to exist between two or three, 
under those suppositions. It is however quite the contrary. 
Minds would lead each other in contrary directions, traverse 
each other in numberless points, and at last greet each other 



xviii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

at the journey's end. An old man and a child would talk 
together, and the old man be led on his path and the child 
left thinking. Man should not dispute or assert, but whisper 
results to his neighbour, and thus by every germ of spirit 
sucking the sap from mould ethereal, every human being 
might become great, and humanity, instead of beiug a wide 
heath of furze and briars, with here and there a remote oak 
or pine, would become a grand democracy of forest-trees." 

A lady whose feminine acuteness of perception is only 
equalled by the vigour of her understanding, thus describes 
Keats as he appeared about this time at Hazlitt's lectures: 
"His eyes were large and blue, his hair auburn; he wore it 
divided down the centre, and it fell in rich masses on each side 
his face ; his mouth was full and less intellectual than his 
other features. His countenance lives in my mind as one of 
singular beauty and brightness ; it had the expression as if 
he had been looking on some glorious sight. The shape of 
his face had not the squareness of a man's, but more like 
some women's faces I have seen it was so wide over the fore- 
head and so small at the chin. He seemed in perfect health, 
and with life offering all things that were precious to him." 

The increased ill-health of his brother Tom and the 
determination of George to emigrate to America cast 
much gloom over the completion of "Endymion," which 
was, however, dispersed by a pedestrian tour through Scot- 
land, in the company of Mr. Brown, a retired merchant, 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xix 

who had been Keats' s neighbour during the preceding 
summer, and whose sympathetic and congenial disposition he 
had much enjoyed. Mr. Eeynolds' objection to a projected 
Preface provoked the following spirited remonstrance : 

" I have not the slightest feeling of humility towards the 
public or to anything in existence but the Eternal Being, the 
Principle of Beauty, and the Memory of great Men. When 
I am writing for myself, for the mere sake of the moment's 
enjoyment, perhaps nature has its course with me ; but a Pre- 
face is written to the public a thing I cannot help looking 
upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feel- 
ings of hostility. If I write a Preface in a supple or subdued 
style, it will not be in character with me as a public speaker. 
I would be subdued before my friends, and thank them for 
subduing me, but among multitudes of men I have no feel 
of stooping : I hate the idea of humility to them. I never 
wrote one single line of poetry with the least shadow of 
public thought. Forgive me for vexing you, and making a 
Trojan horse of such a trifle, both with respect to the matter 
in question, and myself; but it eases me to tell you : I could 
not live without the love of my friends ; I would jump down 
Etna for any great public good, but I hate a mawkish 
popularity." 

In a fine fragment too, written about this time, he spoke of 

1 Bards who died content on pleasant sward, 
Leaving great verse unto a little clan. 
give me their old vigour, and unheard, 
Save of the quiet Primrose, and the span 



xx MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

Of Heaven and few ears, 
Rounded by thee, my song should die away 

Content as theirs, 
Rich in the simple loorship of a day. " 

And yet, after all, the Preface which did appear was in the 
main deprecatory and with no " undersong of disrespect for 
the public ; " and when the Poet looked back on his labour 
he found it " a feverish attempt rather than a deed accom- 
plished." He said ; " the imagination of a boy is healthy, 
and the mature imagination of a man is healthy, but there 
is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, 
the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the 
ambition thick- sighted." 

Surely, there was much in this to disarm the violence of 
the criticism which was levelled at the Poem at its first 
birth into literary existence. The articles themselves, both 
in the "Quarterly" and in "Blackwood," were so superficial 
and coarse, so thoroughly uncritical, that, whatever sensa- 
tions of disgust and anger they may have aroused at 
the time, there could hardly have been a question of 
their permanent influence on the mind and destiny of Keats, 
but for the belief of many of his friends that they 
inflicted on his susceptible nature a shock which he never 
recovered. This notion was confirmed in public estimation 
by the well-known stanza of the eleventh canto of Don Juan ; 
concluding 

"'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle, 
Should let itself be snufled out by an article." 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxi 

It is perhaps bold to say in opposition to the testimony of 
many near and dear friends of Keats, that these effects had 
no existence, but it is certain they have been greatly 
exaggerated. The sublime curse hurled at the brutal critic 
in the " Adonais " of Shelley has its due place in that lofty 
elegy, but with such means as we have to judge from, with 
the letters and acts of Keats, immediately after the reviews 
appeared, before us, his feelings seem to have had much more 
of indignation and contempt in them than of wounded pride 
and mortified vanity. I should incline to believe that the little 
public interest which " Endymion " excited, and the growing 
sense of his own deficiencies, weighed far more on his mind 
than those shallow ribaldries, which Jeffrey's article in the 
Edinburgh Review, if it had appeared somewhat sooner, 
would have so completely counterbalanced. When told " to 
go back to his gallipots," just as Simon Peter might have 
been told to go back to his nets, and when reminded that " a 
starved apothecary was better than a starved poet," his 
inclination certainly was rather to call the satirist to 
account, " if he appears in squares and theatres where 
we might possibly meet," than to let the scoffing visibly 
affect his health and spirits. Indeed in a letter to his 
publisher, after thanking some writer who had vindicated 
him, he says : 

" As for the rest, I begin to get a little acquainted with 
my own strength and weakness. Praise or blame has but a 
momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the 
abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works. My 



xxii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

own domestic criticism has given me pain without comparison 
beyond what ' Blackwood ' or the ' Quarterly ' could possibly 
inflict ; and also when I feel I am right, no external praise 
can give me such a glow as my own solitary reperception 
and ratification of what is fine. * * * I will write 
independently. I have written independently without judg- 
ment, I may write independently, and with judgment, here- 
after. The genius of poetry must work out its own salvation 
in a man. It cannot be matured by law and precept, but by 
sensation and watchfulness in itself. That which is creative 
must create itself. In ' Endymion ' I leaped headlong into 
the sea, and thereby have become better acquainted with the 
soundings, the quicksands, and the rocks than if I had stayed 
upon the green shore, and piped a silly pipe, and taken tea 
and comfortable advice." He also wrote to his brother: 
" This is a mere matter of the moment. I think I shall be 
among the English poets after my death. Even as a matter 
of present interest, the attempt to crush me in the Quarterly 
has only brought me more into notice. * * It does me 
not the least harm in society to make me appear little and 
ridiculous. I know when a man is superior to me, and give 
him all due respect; he will be the last to laugh at me." And 
again on his birthday : " The only thing that can ever affect 
me personally for more than one short passing day, is any 
doubt about my powers for poetry: I seldom have any ; and I 
look with hope to the nighing time when I shall have none." 

After reading these passages it is difficult to sec in what 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxiii 

spirit more wise or manly an author could receive unseemly 
and insolent criticism. When Lord Byron boasts that, after 
the article on his early poems, " instead of breaking a blood- 
vessel," he drank three bottles of claret and began an 
answer, " finding that there was nothing in it for which he 
could, lawfully, knock Jeffrey on the head, in an honourable 
way," one is glad of the indignation that produced the 
"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," but the use which 
Keats made of the annoyance in elevating and purifying his 
self-judgment is surely far more estimable. The letters show 
that no morbid feelings prevented him from most heartily 
enjoying his Scotch tour, where the sublimities of nature 
met him for the first time. He went to the country of 
Burns as on a pilgrimage, and notwithstanding that he was 
shown the cottage of Kirk Alloway "by a mahogany-faced 
old jackass who knew Burns, and who ought to have been 
kicked for having spoken to him," he says, " one of the 
pleasantest means of annulling self is approaching such 
a shrine : we need not think of his misery that is all 
gone, bad luck to it ! I shall look upon it hereafter 
with unmixed pleasure, as I do on my Stratford-on-Avon 
day with Bailey." 

It gave some colour to the belief of the mental injury 
inflicted on Keats by the reviewers, that after this time his 
spirits and health began to decline, and the short remainder of 
his life was exposed to continual troubles and anxieties. His 
brother Tom, whom he loved most devotedly, and vvho much 



xxiv MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

resembled himself in temperament and appearance, died in 
the autumn, and shortly before this event he met the lady 
who inspired him with the profound passion which under 
other circumstances might have combined all his dreams of 
happiness, but which was destined to increase tenfold the 
bitterness of his premature decay.* Up to this period he 
had been singularly shy of women's society, and frequently 
expressed himself freely on the subject, as for instance : 

" I am certain I have not a right feeling towards women ; 
at this moment I am striving to be just to them, but I 
cannot. Is it because they fall so far beneath my boyish 
imagination ? When I was a schoolboy, I thought a fair 
woman a pure goddess ; my mind was a soft nest in which 
some one of them slept, though she knew it not. I thought 
them ethereal, above men. I find them perhaps equal great 
by comparison is very small. * * When among men, I 
have no evil thoughts, no malice, no spleen ; I feel free to 
speak or to be silent. I can listen, and from every one I can 
learn. When I am among women, I have evil thoughts, 
malice, spleen ; I cannot speak or be silent ; I am full of 
suspicions, and therefore listen to nothing; I am in a hurry 
to be gone. You must be charitable, and put all this perver- 
sity to my being disappointed since my boyhood." 

But now his time had come. At a house where he was 
very intimate, he met a cousin of the family, a lady of East 

* In Keats' s copy of Shakespeare, the words Poor Tom, la " King Lear," 
are pathetically underlined. 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxv 

Indian connections, who had there found an asylum from 
some domestic discomfort. He first heard much in her 
praise, which did not interest him, then something in her 
dispraise, which took his fancy. He wrote : " She is not a 
Cleopatra, but is, at least, a Charmian : she has a rich Eastern 
look : she has fine eyes, and fine manners. When she comes 
into the room, she makes the same impression as the beauty 
of -a leopardess. She is too fine and too conscious of herself 
to repulse any man who may address her : from habit she 
thinks that nothing particular. I always find myself more 
at ease with such a woman : the picture before me always 
gives me a life and animation, which I cannot possibly feel 
with anything inferior. I am, at such times, too much 
occupied in admiring to be awkward or in a tremble : I forget 
myself entirely, because I live in her." He then protests 
that he is not in love with her, but that she kept him awake 
one night, " as a tune of Mozart's might do." He "won't 
cry to take the moon home with him in his pocket, nor 
fret to leave her behind him." And then reverting to his 
love to his brothers and sisters : "As a man of the world, 
I love the rich talk of a Charmian ; as an eternal being, 
I love the thought of you. I should like her to ruin me, 
and I should like you to save me." 

Eesiding in the house of his friend Mr. Brown, and 
in daily intercourse with this lady, the path of life w r ould 
have lain out before him brightly indeed, had it not soon 
appeared that his circumstances were such as to render their 



xxvi MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

union very difficult, if not impossible. The radiant imagina- 
tion and the redundant heart now came into fierce conflict 
with poverty and disease. Hope was there, with Genius his 
everlasting sustainer, and Fear never approached but as the 
companion of Necessity : but the intensity of passion helped 
to wear away a physical frame originally feeble, and he 
might have lived longer if he had loved less. 

Several of the Tales and Odes, which are contained in the 
volume of miscellaneous poetry, had been written by this 
time : the " Pot of Basil " before his highland tour, and 
the "Eve of St. Agnes," and the Odes "to Psyche" and "on 
Melancholy," in the winter; "Lamia" and the "Ode to 
Autumn " in the advancing year. In most of these the 
Spenserian influence is still strongly predominant, augmented 
no doubt by the study of the Italian Poets, to which, during 
these months, Keats sedulously applied himself. The frag- 
ment of " Hyperion" which Lord Byron, with an exagge- 
ration akin to his former depreciation, declared to " seem 
actually inspired by the Titans and as sublime as JEschylus," 
was written so sensibly under another inspiration as to be 
distasteful to its author. " I have given up Hyperion," 
he writes, " there were too many Miltonic inversions in it. 
Miltonic verse cannot be written but in an artful, or rather, 
artist's humour." In all these Poems, in their different 
styles, the progress in purity and grace of diction was 
manifest. The simplicity of language which had been 
inaugurated by Goldsmith and Cowper, formalised into a 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxvii 

theory by Wordsworth, and by him and other writers both of 
the Lake and the London schools carried to extravagance, 
had been adapted by Keats to a class of subjects to which, 
according to literary taste and habit, it was especially 
inappropriate, and where it produced on many minds almost 
the sensation of a classical burlesque. Such of the Gods as 
had spoken English up to this time had done so in formal 
and courtly language, and the familiarity of poetic diction 
which in any case was novel, here appeared extravagant. 
Now that Endymion has taken its place as a great English 
Poem, and is in truth become a region of delight in which 
the youth of every generation finds " a week's stroll in the 
summer," we can hardly feel the force of those objections, 
which, if they had been temperately urged by critics who 
in other matters recognised the genius of Keats, would have 
had due weight not only with the public but with the Poet 
himself. But while he owed nothing to the sledge-hammer 
censure he had endured, his own refined judgment and 
enlarged knowledge induced him to throw off, as puerilities 
and conceits, much that had before presented itself to his 
fancy as invention and simplicity, and to send out his 
noble thoughts and images so worthily arrayed, that if 
he had lived to maturity, he would probably have had less 
of peculiarity and mannerism than any other Poet of his 
time. 

An experiment of double authorship between Keats and 
his friend Brown was not equally successful : the tragedy of 



xxviii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

" Otho the Great " was thus written Brown supplying the 
fable, characters, and dramatic conduct ; Keats, the diction 
and the verse. The two composers sat opposite, Brown 
sketching all the incidents of each scene, and Keats transla- 
ting them into his rich and ready language. As a literary 
diversion the process may have been instructive and amusing, 
but a work of art thus created could be hardly worthy of 
the name. As the play advanced, Keats thought the events 
too melodramatic, and concluded the fifth act alone. The 
tragedy was offered to, and accepted by, Elliston, Kean 
having expressed a desire to act the principal part ; but it is 
unlikely that even his representation would have carried 
through a performance so unsuited for the stage. As a 
literary curiosity it remains interesting, and abounds with fine 
phrases and passages marred by the poverty of the construc- 
tion. It is doubtful whether at this time Keats alone could 
have produced a much better play : he might have written 
a Midsummer Night's Dream, as Coleridge might have 
written a Hamlet, but in both the great human element 
would have been wanting, which Shakspeare combines with 
high philosophy or with fairy-land. 

George Keats paid a short visit to England in the early part 
of this year and received his share of the property of the 
youngest brother. He probably repaid himself for moneys 
advanced for John's education or liabilities, and thus the 
share which John received was not above 200Z. By this time 
little, if anything, remained of John's original fortune, and 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxix 

it is deeply to be regretted that the more enterprising 
brother did not come to some distinct understanding with 
the other, before he finally quitted England, as to John's 
future means of support. Keats's friends believed that 
George took with him some remnants of John's fortune to 
speculate with, but no proof of this remains in any of the 
letters on either side ; and, after John's death, when the 
legal administration of his effects showed that no debts 
were owing to the estate, George offered, without any 
obligation, to do his utmost to discharge his brother's 
engagements. 

At the time when these embarrassments began to press 
most heavily on Keats, he returned one night late to Hamp- 
stead in a state of strange physical excitement, like violent in- 
toxication : he told his friend he had been outside the stage- 
coach and received a severe chill, but added, " I don't feel it 
now." Getting into bed, he slightly coughed, and said, 
"That is blood bring me the candle," and after gazing 
on the pillow, turning round with an expression of sudden 
and solemn calm, said, " I know the colour of that blood, it 
is arterial blood, I cannot be deceived in that colour ; that 
drop is my death-warrant. I must die." He was bled, fell 
asleep, and, after some weeks, apparently recovered. During 
his illness he told Mr. Brown, " If you would have me 
recover, flatter me with a hope of happiness when I shall be 
well ; for I am now so weak that I can be flattered into 
hope." "When he said one day, " Look at my hand, it is 



xxx MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

that of a man of fifty," it was remembered that years before, 
Coleridge meeting Keats in a lane near Highgate, and 
shaking hands with him, had turned round to Mr. Hunt 
and whispered, 'There is death in that hand.'" 

This illness seemed at the time not to be without its 
compensations : he wrote to Mr. Rice in Feb. (1820) : 

" For six months before I was taken ill, I had not passed 
a tranquil day. Either that gloom overspread me, or I was 
suffering under some passionate feeling, or, if I turned to 
versify, that acerbated the poison of either sensation. The 
beauties of nature had lost their power over me. How 
astonishingly (here I must premise that illness, as far as I 
can judge in so short a time, has relieved my mind of a load of 
deceptive thoughts and images, and makes me perceive things 
in a truer light), how astonishingly does the chance of lrav- 
ing the world impress a sense of its natural beauties upon us ! 
Like poor Falstaff, though I do not ' babble,' I think of 
green fields ; I muse with the greatest affection on every 
flower I have known from my infancy ; their shapes and 
colours are as new to me as if I had just created them with 
a superhuman fancy. It is because they are connected with 
the most thoughtless and happiest moments of our lives. 
I have seen foreign flowers in hothouses, of the most beauti- 
ful nature, but I do not care a straw for them. The simple 
flowers of our Spring are what I want to see again." 

And he saw them for towards the end of the spring his 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxxi 

health was apparently so much better that the physician 
recommended another tour in Scotland. Mr. Brown, how- 
ever thought him unfit for the exertion and went alone : the 
two friends parted in May and never met again. In the 
previous autumn Keats had removed to a lodging in West- 
minster, when he was trying to make some money by con- 
tributing to periodical works, but soon found he had mis- 
calculated his own powers of endurance. She, whose name 

' ' Was ever on his lip 
But never on his tongue," 

exercised too mighty a restraint over his being for him to 
remain at a distance which was neither absence nor presence, 
and he soon returned to where at least he could rest his eyes 
on her habitation, and enjoy each chance opportunity of her 
society. After Mr. Brown's departure, he seems to have been 
all but domesticated with her family for a short time, but with 
the sad consciousness of the absolute necessity of some great 
change of life to ward off absolute destitution. " My mind," 
he writes, " has been at work all over the world to find out 
what to do. I have my choice of three things or, at least, 
two South America, or surgeon to an Indiaman, which last, 
I think, will be my fate. I shall resolve in a few days." 

It was probably this pressure which forced him, against 
his will, to publish the volume of Tales and Poems, which 
seemed at last to move even the literary world to some 
consciousness of his merits. It had no great sale, but it 



xxxii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

was received respectfully, and, even without the catastrophe 
that soon invested it with so solemn an interest, it would 
have gone far to establish him as a poet even in vulgar 
fame. During its completion he had spent much time on an 
Ariosto-like Poem, which he called the " Cap and Bells," 
exhibiting his play of fancy to great advantage, and getting 
away as it were, as far as possible, from the gross realities 
that occupied and tormented his existence. His main 
passion finds no place in his verse ; a few, and not eminent, 
fragments betray the haunting thought, but the careful 
exclusion of the topic from his literature adds one more 
testimony to the truth that the highest poetry exhibits 
itself in objective forms, moulded and coloured by the 
feelings and experiences of the writer, and not in subjective 
representations of his immediate and perhaps temporary 
sensations. 

Keats thought himself to be slowly but surely recovering, 
when a spitting of blood came on, followed by tightness of 
the chest and other symptoms, which made it apparent that 
nothing but a winter in a milder climate would have a 
chance of saving his life. It is sad to contemplate with 
what delight, under other auspices, he would have under- 
taken a visit to those southern lands, the favourites ot 
nature, still tenanted by those mythologic presences oi 
beauty which he had so peculiarly made his own. Now he 
writes, " the journey to Italy wakes me at daylight every 
morning, and haunts me horribly. I shall endeavour to go, 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxxiii 

though it be with the sensation of marching up against a 
battery." He felt he had a " core of disease in him not easy 
to pull out," and he had no sufficient hope of ultimate good 
to remedy the pangs of present separation. He had been 
tended for a few weeks by the one hand that could soothe 
him, and that he must leave, perhaps for ever. And he 
would have had to go alone but for the affection of 
Mr. Severn, the young artist, who had just won the gold 
medal given by the Eoyal Academy for historical painting 
which had not been adjudged for the last twelve years. 
Regardless of persoual and professional advantages the 
painter devoted himself to the afflicted poet, and they started 
in the middle of September by sea. When scarcely 
embarked, Keats wrote despondingly to Mr. Brown, taking 
that opportunity of ease, " for time seems to press." He 
wishes to write on subjects that would not agitate him, 
and yet he is ever recurring to that which wears his heart 
away. 

" If my body would recover of itself, this would prevent 
it ; the very thing which I want to live most for will be a 
great occasion of my death. I wish for death every 

day and night to deliver me from these pains, and then I 
wish death away, for death would destroy even those pains, 
which are better than nothing. Land and sea, weakness 
and decline, are great separators, but death is the great 
divorcer for ever. When the pang of this thought has 
passed through my mind, I may say the bitterness of death 



xxxiv MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

is passed. * * I am in a state at present in which 
woman, merely as woman, can have no more power over me 
than stocks and stones, and yet the difference of my 

sensations with respect to Miss and my sister is 

amazing : the one seems to absorb the other to a degree 
incredible. I seldom think of my brother and sister in 

America ; the thought of leaving Miss is beyond 

everything horrible the sense of darkness coming over me 
I eternally see her figure eternally vanishing." 

At Naples the gloom grows still darker, and we feel that 
the night is at hand. 

" The fresh air revived me a little, and I hope I am well 
enough this morning to write you a short calm letter if that 
can be called one, in which I am afraid to speak of what I 
would fainest dwell upon. As I have gone thus far into it, I 
must go on a little perhaps it may relieve the load of wretch- 
edness which presses upon me. The persuasion that I shall 
see her no more will kill me. My dear Brown, I should have 
had her when I was in health, and I should have remained 
well. I can bear to die I cannot bear to leave her. Oh, 
God! God! God! Everything I have in my trunk* that 
reminds me of her goes through me like a spear. The silk 
lining she put in my travelling-cap scalds my head. My 
imagination is horribly vivid about her 1 see her I hear 
her. There is nothing in the world of sufficient interest to 
divert me from her a moment. This was the case when I 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxxv 

was in England. I cannot recollect, without shuddering, 
the time that I was a prisoner at Hunt's and used to keep 
my eyes fixed on Hampstead all day. Then there was a 
good hope of seeing her again Now ! O that I could be 
buried near where she lives. * * * Is there any news of 
George ? O, that something fortunate had ever happened 
to me or my brothers ! then I might hope, but despair is 
forced upon me as a habit. My dear Brown, for my sake, 
be her advocate for ever. I cannot say a word about 
Naples; I do not feel at all concerned in the thousand 
novelties around me. I am afraid to write to her. I should 
like her to know that I do not forget her. Oh ! Brown, I 
have coals of fire in my breast. It surprises me that the 
human heart is capable of containing and bearing so much 
misery. Was I born for this end ? " 

He received at Naples a most affectionate letter from 
Mr. Shelley urging him to come to Pisa, where he would 
receive every comfort and attention. After the many 
annoyances he encountered at Rome, one almost regrets 
that he did not accept this offer, except that at Pisa he 
could not have experienced the skilful solicitude of Dr. (now 
Sir James) Clark, which led him through the dark passages 
of mortal sickness with every alleviation that medical care 
and knowledge could bestow. It was thus alone that his 
life was preserved during December and January. On the 
last day of November he wrote his last letter, in a tone 
of mind somewhat less painful. He spoke of his real 



xxxvi MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

life as something passed, and as if he were leading a 
posthumous existence. It ends with these words: 
" If I recover, I will do all in my power to correct 
the mistakes made during sickness, and, if I should not, 
all my faults will be forgiven. Write to George as soon as 
you receive this, and tell him how I am, as far as you can 
guess ; and also a note to my sister who walks about my 
imagination like a ghost she is so like Tom. I can scarcely 
bid you good-bye, even in a letter. I always made an 
awkward bow. God bless you. 

" John Keats." 

After some weeks of acute physical suffering and of a 
fierce mental conflict with destiny, in which reason itself 
was, at times, overcome, he became calm and resigned ; he 
talked easily and slept peacefully. To Severn, who, to use 
his own phrase " had been beating about so long in the 
tempest of his friend's mind," this change was most 
welcome, although conscious that it was rather owing to 
the increasing debility of his body, than to any real im- 
provement of his condition. He desired a letter from his 
beloved, which he did not dare to read, together with a 
a purse and letter of his sister's * to be placed in his coffin, 
and that on his grave should be written these words : 

BIBl UH "Ml ITHOSI NAMi: WAS WRIT IN WATKH. 

* Miss Keats shortly afterwards married Seftor Llanos, the author of 
"Don Esteban," "Sandoval the Freemason," and other works of con- 
siderable ability. 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxxvii 

He died on the 27th of February, so quiet that Severn 
thought he still slept ; his last words were " Thank God it 
has come." 

Keats was buried in the Protestant cemetery at Eome, 
one of the most beautiful spots on which the eye and heart 
of man can rest. It is a grassy slope, amid verdurous ruins 
of the Honorian walls of the diminished city, surmounted by 
the pyramidal tomb which Petrarch ascribed to Eemus, but 
which antiquarian research has attributed to the humbler 
name of Caius Cestius, a Tribune of the people, only 
remembered by his sepulchre. In one of these mental 
voyages into the past, which precede death, Keats had told 
Severn that he thought " the intensest pleasure he had re- 
ceived in life was in watching the growth of flowers," and 
another time, after lying a while quite still, he murmured, 
" I feel the flowers growing over me." And there they do 
grow even all the winter long, violets and daisies mingling 
with the fresh herbage, and in the words of Shelley "making 
one in love with death, to think one should be buried in so 
sweet a place." Some years ago, when the writer of this 
memoir was at Eome, the thick grass had nearly overgrown 
the humble tomb- stone, which however few strangers of our 
race omit to visit ; but whether this record of him escapes 
the wreck of years or not, there will remain, as long as the 
English language lasts, and be read, as far as it extends, the 
glorious monument, erected by the living genius of Shelley, 
the Elegy of Adonais. Nor will it be forgotten, how few 



xxxviii MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

years afterwards, in the extended burying-ground, a little 
above the grave of Keats, was placed another stone, recording 
that below rests the passionate and world-worn heart of 
Shelley himself" Cor Cordium."* 

The thoughtful reader will hardly consider this biographi- 
cal sketch, personal as it is, without its worth in estimating 
the due position of these Poems in the history of British 
literature. By common consent, the individuality of the 
Poet enters more directly into the consideration of his works 
than' that of a writer in any other mental field. That 
these Poems should be the productions of a young surgeon's 
apprentice, with no more opportunities of study and reflec- 
tion than belonged to the general middle class of his time 
and country, is in itself a psychological wonder, only to be 
paralleled by the phenomenon of Chatterton. While 
this reflection enhances the originality and palliates the 
defects of the earlier works of Keats, the picture of that 
sympathetic temper and genial disposition, which led his 
imagination to a novel and unscholastic treatment of 
classical tradition, and made him labour to realise a world of 
love and beauty in which his heart found itself most at home, 
would induce us to ascribe to the morose nature and lonely 
pride of Bristol's prodigy much of the misdirection of the 
rarest talents, and many otherwise undeserved calamities. 
And, when in pursuing the course of the later Poet we find 

* The words on the stone. 



MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. xxxix 

him too the victim of critical contempt, haunted by pressing 
poverty, struck with acute physical suffering, and blighted in 
his deepest affections, and yet, with a genius above fate, recti- 
fying and purifying his powers to the very last, our personal 
interest identifies itself with our literary admiration, and we 
better appreciate the merit of the poet by understanding the 
nobility of the man. It is not indeed that he was notably 
one of those who "are cradled into poetry by wrong," 
and " learn in suffering what they teach in song," for his 
temperament demanded happiness for its atmosphere, and 
pleasure expanded without evervating his powers ; but, 
it was perhaps required, for the vindication of his nature 
from the charge of sentimental sensuality and unmanly 
dependence, that he should be thus severely tried, and that 
the simple story of his life and death should be the refu- 
tation of those who knowingly calumniated, or unconsciously 
misapprehended him. 

The works of Keats have now sustained, in some degree, 
the test of time ; his generation, fertile in poetical ability, 
has passed away, and a fair comparison may be instituted 
among its competitors for fame. Without entering on a 
question of so much intricacy, it cannot be denied that 
these Poems are read by every accurate student of English 
literature. It is natural that the young should find especial 
delight in productions which take so much of their inspira- 
tion from the exuberant vitality of the author and of the 
world. But the eternal youth of antique beauty does not 



xl MEMOIR OF JOHN KEATS. 

confine its influences to any portion of the life of man. 
And thus the admiration of the writings of Keats survives 
the hot impulses of early years, and these pages often remain 
open, when the clamorous sublimities of Byron and Shelley 
come to be unwelcome intruders on the calm of maturer age. 
To these and such voices the poetic sense still listens, and 
will listen ever, in preference to more instructive harmonies ; 
and the fancy recognises in the unaccomplished promise of 
this wonderful boy, a symbol of that old world, where the 
perfect physical organisation of man and the perfect type of 
ideal beauty may seem to have been crushed and obliterated 
by barbarian hands, but which perished, in truth, because 
these very aspirations could only be realised in another and 
still more glorious order of the universe. 




ENDYMION: 



A POETIC ROMANCE. 



INSCRIBED TO 



THE MEMORY OF THOMAS CHATTERTON. 



THE STRETCHED METRE OF AN ANTIQUE SONG. 




PREFACE. 



Knowing within myself the manner in which this Poem has been 
produced, it. is not without a feeling of regret that I make it public. 

What manner I mean, will be quite clear to the reader, who must 
soon perceive great inexperience, immaturity, and every error de- 
noting a feverish attempt, rather than a deed accomplished. The 
two first books, and indeed the two last, I feel sensible are not of 
such completion as to warrant their passing the press j nor should 
they if I thought a year's castigation would do them any good; 
it will not : the foundations are too sandy. It is just that this 
youngster should die away : a sad thought for me, if I had not 
some hope that while it is dwindling I may be plotting, and fitting 
myself for verses fit to live. 

This may be speaking too presumptuously, and may deserve a 
punishment : but no feeling man will be forward to inflict it : he 
Avill leave me alone, with the conviction that there is not a fiercer 
hell than the failure in a great object. This is not written with 
the least atom of purpose to forestall criticisms of course, but from 
the desire I have to conciliate men who are competent to look, 
and who do look with a zealous eye, to the honour of English 
literature. 

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination 



4 PREFACE. 

of a man is healthy ; but there is a space of life between, in which 
the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life 
uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted : thence proceeds mawkish- 
ness, and all the thousand bitters which those men I speak of must 
necessarily taste in going over the following pages. 

I hope I have not in too late a day touched the beautiful 
mythology of Greece, and dulled its brightness: for I wish to try 
once more before I bid it farewell. 

Teionmouth, April 10, 1818. 





END YMION 



BOOK I. 



A thing of beauty is a joy for ever ; 

Its loveliness increases ; it will never 

Pass into nothingness ; but still will keep 

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. 




ENDYMION. 

Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing 
A flowery band to bind us to the earth, 
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth 
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, 
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darken'd ways 
Made for our searching : yes, in spite of all, 
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall 
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, 
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon 
For simple sheep ; and such are daffodils 
With the green world they live in ; and clear rills 
That for themselves a cooling covert make 
'Grainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, 
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms : 
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms 
We have imagined for the mighty dead ; 
All lovely tales that we have heard or read: 
An endless fountain of immortal drink, 
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. 

Nor do we merely feel these essences 
For one short hour ; no, even as the trees 
That whisper round a temple become soon 
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon, 
The passion poesy, glories infinite, 
Haunt us till they become a cheering light 
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast, 
That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast, 
They alway must be" with us, or we die. 

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I 
Will trace the story of Endymion. 



ENDYMION. 

The very music of the name has gone 
Into my being, and each pleasant scene 
Is growing fresh before me as the green 
Of our own valleys : so I will begin 
Now while I cannot hear the city's din ; 
Now while the early budders are just new, 
And run in mazes of the youngest hue 
About old forests ; while the willow trails 
Its delicate amber ; and the dairy pails 
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year 
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer 
My little boat, for many quiet hours, 
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers. 
Many and many a verse I hope to write, 
Before the daisies, vermeil rimm'd and white, 
Hide in deep herbage ; and ere yet the bees 
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas, 
I must be near the middle of my story. 
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary, 
See it half-finish'd : but let Autumn bold, 
With universal tinge of sober gold, 
Be all about me when I make an end. 
And now at once, adventuresome, I send 
My herald thought into a wilderness : 
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress 
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed 
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed. 

Upon the sides of Latmos was outspread 
A mighty forest ; for the moist earth fed 
So plenteously all weed-hidden roots 
Into o'erhauging boughs, and precious fruits. 



ENDYMION. 

And it had gloomy shades, sequester' d deep, 

Where no man went ; and if from shepherd's keep 

A lamb stray'd far a-down those inmost glens, 

Never again saw he the happy pens 

Whither his brethren, bleating with content, 

Over the hills at every nightfall went. 

Among the shepherds 'twas believed ever, 

That not one fleecy lamb which thus did sever 

From the white flock, but pass'd un worried 

By any wolf, or pard with prying head, 

Until it came to some unfooted plains 

Where fed the herds of Pan : ay, great his gains 

Who thus one lamb did lose. Paths there were many, 

Winding through palmy fern, and rushes fenny, 

And ivy banks ; all leading pleasantly 

To a wide lawn, whence one could only see 

Stems thronging all around between the swell 

Of tuft and slanting branches : who could tell 

The freshness of the space of heaven above, 

Edged round with dark tree-tops ? through which a dove 

Would often beat its wings, and often too 

A little cloud would move across the blue. 

Full iu the middle of this pleasantness 
There stood a marble altar, with a tress 
Of flowers budded newly ; and the dew 
Had taken fairy phantasies to strew 
Daisies upon the sacred sward last eve, 
And so the dawned light in pomp receive. 
For 'twas the morn : Apollo's upward fire 
Made every eastern cloud a silvery pyre 
Of brightness so unsullied, that therein 



ENDYMION. 

A melancholy spirit well might win 
Oblivion, and melt out his essence fine 
Into the winds : rain-scented eglantine 
Gave temperate sweets to that well-wooing sun 
The lark was lost in him ; cold springs had run 




To warm their chilliest bubbles in the grass ; 
Man's voice was on the mountains ; and the mass 
Of nature's lives and wonders pulsed tenfold, 
To feel this sun-rise and its glories old. 



Now while the silent workings of the dawn 



10 , ENDYMION. 

Were busiest, into that self-same lawn 

All suddenly, with joyful cries, there sped 

A troop of little children garlanded ; 

Who gathering round the altar, seeni'd to pry 

Earnestly round as wishing to espy 

Some folk of holiday : nor had they waited 

For many moments, ere their ears were sated 

With a faint breath of music, which even then 

Fill'd out its voice, and died away again. 

Within a little space again it gave 

Its airy swellings, with a gentle wave, 

To light-hung leaves, in smoothest echoes breaking 

Through copse-clad valleys, ere their death, o'ertaking 

The surgy murmurs of the lonely sea. 

And now, as deep into the wood as we 
Might mark a lynx's eye, there glimmer'd light 
Fair faces and a rush of garments white, 
Plainer and plainer showing, till at last 
Into the widest alley they all past, 
Making directly for the woodland altar. 
O kindly muse ! let not my weak tongue falter 
In telling of this goodly company, 
Of their old piety, and of their glee : 
But let a portion of ethereal dew 
Fall on my head, and presently unmew 
My soul ; that I may dare, in wayfaring, 
To stammer where old Chaucer used to sing. 

Leading the way, young damsels danced along, 
Bearing the burden of a shepherd's sonij : 
Each having a white wicker, overbrimm'd 



ENDYMION. 11 

With April's tender younglings : next, well trimm'd, 

A crowd of shepherds with as sunburnt looks 

As may be read of in Arcadian books ; 

Such as sat listening round Apollo's pipe, 

"When the great deity, for earth too ripe, 

Let his divinity o'erflowing die 

In music, through the vales of Thessaly : 

Some idly trail' d their sheep-hooks on the ground, 

And some kept up a shrilly mellow sound 

With ebon-tipped flutes : close after these, 

Now coming from beneath the forest trees, 

A venerable priest full soberly, 

Begirt with ministering looks : alway his eye 

Steadfast upon the matted turf he kept, 

And after him his sacred vestments swept. 

From his right hand there swung a vase, milk-white, . 

Of mingled wine, out-sparkling generous light ; 

And in his left he held a basket full 

Of all sweet herbs that searching eye could cull : 

Wild thyme, and valley-lilies whiter still 

Than Leda's love, and cresses from the rill. 

His aged head, crowned with beechen wreath, 

Seem'd like a poll of ivy in the teeth 

Of winter hoar. Then came another crowd 

Of shepherds, lifting in due time aloud 

Their share of the ditty. After them appear'd, 

Up-follow'd by a multitude that rear'd 

Their voices to the clouds, a fair-wrought car 

Easily rolling so as scarce to mar 

The freedom of three steeds of dapple brown : 

Who stood therein did seem of great renown 

Among the throng. His youth was fully blown, 



12 ENDYMION. 

Showing like Ganymede to manhood grown ; 

And, for those simple times, his garments were 

A chieftain king's : beneath his breast, half bare, 

"Was hung a silver bugle, and between 

His nervy knees there lay a boar-spear keen. 

A smile was on his countenance ; he seem'd 

To common lookers-on, like one who dream'd 

Of idleness in groves Elysian : 

But there were some who feelingly could scan 

A lurking trouble in his nether lip, 

And see that oftentimes the reins would slip 

Through his forgotten hands : then would they sigh, 

And think of yellow leaves, of owlets' cry, 

Of logs piled solemnly. Ah, well-a-day, 

Why should our young Endymion pine away ! 

Soon the assembly, in a circle ranged, 
Stood silent round the shrine : each look was changed 
To sudden veneration : women meek 
Beckon' d their sons to silence ; while each cheek 
Of virgin bloom paled gently for slight fear. 
Endymion too, without a forest peer, 
Stood, wan, and pale, and with an awed face, 
Among his brothers of the mountain chase. 
In midst of all, the venerable priest 
Eyed them with joy from greatest to the ieasl . 
And, after lifting up his aged hands, 
Thus spake he : " Men of Latmos ! shepherd bands ! 
AVhose care it is to guard a thousand flocks : 
Whether descended from beneath the rocks 
That overtop your mountains ; whether come 
From valleys where the pipe is never dumb ; 



ENDYMION. 13 

Or from your swelling downs, where sweet air stirs 

Blue hare-bells lightly, and where prickly furze 

Buds lavish gold ; or ye, whose precious charge 

Nibble their fill at ocean's very marge, 

Whose mellow reeds are touch' d with sounds forlorn 

By the dim echoes of old Triton's horn : 

Mothers and wives ! who day by day prepare 

The scrip, with needments, for the mountain air ; 

And all ye gentle girls who foster up 

Udderless lambs, and in a little cup 

Will put choice honey for a favour' d youth : 

Yea, every one attend ! for in good truth 

Our vows are wanting to our great god Pan. 

Are not our lowing heifers sleeker than 

Night-swollen mushrooms ? Are not our wide plains 

Speckled with countless fleeces ? Have not rains 

Green' d over April's lap ? No howling sad 

Sickens our fearful ewes ; and we have had 

Great bounty from Endymion our lord. 

The earth is glad : the merry lark has pour'd 

His early song against yon breezy sky, 

That spreads so clear o'er our solemnity." 

Thus ending, on the shrine he heap'd a spire 
Of teeming sweets, enkindling sacred fire ; 
Anon he stain' d the thick and spongy sod 
With wine, in honour of the shepherd-god. 
Now while the earth was drinking it, and while 
Bay leaves were crackling in the fragrant pile, 
And gummy frankincense was sparkling bright 
'Neath smothering parsley, and a- hazy light 
Spread greyly eastward, thus a chorus sang : 



14 ENDYMION. 

" thou, whose mighty palace roof doth hang 
From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth 
Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death 
Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness ; 
Who lovest to see the hamadryads dress 
Their ruffled locks where meeting hazels darken ; 
And through whole solemn hours dost sit, and hearken 
The dreary melody of bedded reeds 
In desolate places, where dank moisture breeds 
The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth, 
Bethinking thee, how melancholy loth 
Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx do thou now, 
By thy love's milky brow ! 
By all the trembling mazes that she ran, 
Hear us, great Pan ! 

" O thou, for whose soul-soothing quiet, turtles 
Passion their voices cooingly 'mong myrtles, 
"What time thou wanderest at eventide 
Through sunny meadows, that outskirt the side 
Of thine enmossed realms : thou, to whom 
Broad-leaved fig-trees even now foredoom 
Their ripen' d fruitage ; yellow-girted bees 
Their golden honeycombs ; our village leas 
Their fairest blossom'd beans and poppied corn ; 
The chuckling linnet its five young unborn, 
To sing for thee ; low-creeping strawberries 
Their summer coolness ; pent-up butterflies 
Their freckled wings; yea, the fresh-budding year 
All its completions be quickly near, 
By every wind that nods the mountain pine, 
O forester divine ! 



ENDYMION. 15 

" Thou, to whom every faun and satyr flies 
For willing service; whether to surprise 
The squatted hare while in half-sleeping fit ; 
Or upward ragged precipices flit 
To save poor lambkins from the eagle's maw ; 
Or by mysterious enticement draw 
Bewilder' d shepherds to their path again ; 
Or to tread breathless round the frothy main, 
And gather up all fancifullest shells 
For thee to tumble into Naiads' cells, 
And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping ; 
Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping, 
The while they pelt each other on the crown 
With silvery oak-apples, and fir-cones brown 
By all the echoes that about thee ring, 
Hear us, O satyr king ! 

" O Hearkener to the loud-clapping shears, 
While ever and anon to his shorn peers 
A ram goes bleating : Winder of the horn, 
When snouted wild-boars routing tender corn 
Anger our huntsman : Breather round our farms, 
To keep off mildews, and all weather harms : 
Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds, 
That come a- swooning over hollow grounds, 
And wither drearily on barren moors : 
Dread opener of the mysterious doors 
Leading to universal knowledge see, 
Great son of Dryope, 

The many that are come to pay their vows 
With leaves about their brows ! 



16 ENDYMION. 

" Be still the unimaginable lodge 
For solitary thinkings ; such as dodge 
Conception to the very bourne of heaven, 
Then leave the naked brain : be still the leaven, 
That spreading in this dull and clodded earth, 
GTives it a touch ethereal a new birth : 
Be still a symbol of immensity : 
A firmament reflected in a sea ; 
An element filling the space between ; 
An unknown but no more : we humbly screen 
With uplift hands our foreheads, lowly bending, 
And giving out a shout most heaven-rending, 
Conjure thee to receive our humble Paean, 
Upon thy Mount Lycean ! " 

Even while they brought the burden to a close, 
A shout from the whole multitude arose, 
That linger' d in the air like dying rolls 
Of abrupt thunder, when Ionian shoals 
Of dolphins bob their noses through the brine. 
Meantime, on shady levels, mossy fine, 
Young companies nimbly began dancing 
To the swift treble pipe, and humming string. 
Ay, those fair living forms swam heavenly 
To tunes forgotten out of memory : 
Fair creatures ! whose young children's children bred 
Thermopylae its heroes not yet dead, 
But in old marbles ever beautiful. 
High genitors, unconscious did they cull 
Time's sweet first-fruits they danced to weariness, 
And then in quiet circles did they press 
The hillock turf, and caught the latter end 



ENDYMION. ] 7 

Of some strange history, potent to send 

A young mind from its bodily tenement. 

Or they might watch the quoit-pitchers, intent 

On either side ; pitying the sad death 

Of Hyacinthus, when the cruel breath 

Of Zephyr slew him, Zephyr penitent, 

Who now, ere Phoebus mounts the firmament, 

Fondles the flower amid the sobbing rain. 

The archers too, upon a wider plain, 

Beside the feathery whizzing of the shaft, 

And the dull twanging bowstring, and the raft 

Branch down sweeping from a tall ash top, 

Call'd up a thousand thoughts to envelope 

Those who would watch. Perhaps, the trembling knee 

And frantic gape of lonely Niobe, 

Poor, lonely Niobe ! when her lovely young 

Were dead and gone, and her caressing tongue 

Lay a lost thing upon her paly lip, 

And very, very deadliness did nip 

Her motherly cheeks. Aroused from this sad mood 

By one, who at a distance loud halloo' d, 

Uplifting his strong bow into the air, 

Many might after brighter visions stare : 

After the Argonauts, in blind amaze 

Tossing about on Neptune's restless ways, 

Until, from the horizon's vaulted side, 

There shot a golden splendour far and wide, 

Spangling those million poutings of the brine 

With quivering ore ; 'twas even an awful shine 

Prom the exaltation of Apollo's bow ; 

A heavenly beacon in their dreary woe. 

Who thus were ripe for high contemplating, 



18 ENDYMION. 

Might turn their steps towards the sober ring 

Where sat Endymioii and the aged priest 

'Mong shepherds gone in eld, whose looks increased 

The silvery setting of their mortal star. 

There they discoursed upon the fragile bar 

That keeps us from our homes ethereal ; 

And what our duties there : to nightly call 

Vesper, the beauty-crest of summer weather ; 

To summon all the downiest clouds together 

Tor the sun's purple couch ; to emulate 

In ministering the potent rule of fate 

With speed of fire-tail' d exhalations ; 

To tint her pallid cheek with bloom, who cons 

Sweet poesy by moonlight : besides these, 

A world of other unguess'd offices. 

Anon they wander' d, by divine converse, 

Into Elysium ; vying to rehearse 

Each one his own anticipated bliss. 

One felt heart-certain that he could not miss 

His quick-gone love, among fair blossom'd boughs, 

Where every zephyr-sigh pouts, and endows 

Her lips with music for the welcoming. 

Another wish'd, 'mid that eternal spring, 

To meet his rosy child, with feathery sails, 

Sweeping, eye-earnestly, through almond vales : 

Who, suddenly, should stoop through the smooth wind, 

And with the balmiest leaves his temples bind ; 

And, ever after, through those regions be 

His messenger, his little Mercury. 

Some were athirst in soul to see again 

Their fellow-huntsmen o'er the wide champaign 

In times long past ; to sit with them, and talk 



ENDYMION. 19 

Of all the chances in their earthly walk ; 

Comparing, joyfully, their plenteous stores 

Of happiness, to when upon the moors, 

Benighted, close they huddled from the cold, 

And shared their famish' d scrips. Thus all out-told 

Their fond imaginations, saving him 

Whose eyelids curtain'd up their jewels dim, 

Endymion : yet hourly had he striven 

To hide the cankering venom, that had riven 

His fainting recollections. Now indeed 

His senses had swoon' d off: he did not heed 

The sudden silence, or the whispers low, 

Or the old eyes dissolving at his woe, 

Or anxious calls, or close of trembling palms, 

Or maiden's sigh, that grief itself embalms : 

But in the self-same fixed trance he kept, 

Like one who on the earth had never stept. 

Ay, even as dead- still as a marble man, 

Frozen in that old tale Arabian. 

Who whispers him so pantingly and close ? 
Peona, his sweet sister : of all those, 
His friends, the dearest. Hushing signs she made, 
And breathed a sister's sorrow to persuade 
A yielding up, a cradling on her care. 
Her eloquence did breathe away the curse : 
She led him, like some midnight spirit nurse 
Of happy changes in emphatic dreams, 
Along a path between two little streams, 
Guarding his forehead, with her round elbow, 
From low-grown branches, and his footsteps slow 
From stumbling over stumps and hillocks small ; 



20 ENDYMION. 

Until they came to where these streamlets fall, 
With mingled bubblings and a gentle rush, 
Into a river, clear, brimful, and flush 
With crystal mocking of the trees and sky. 
A little shallop, floating there hard by, 
Pointed its beak over the fringed bank ; 
And soon it lightly dipt, and rose, and sank, 




And dipt again, with the young couple's weight, 

Peona guiding, through the water straight, 

Towards a bowery island opposite ; 

Which gaining presently, she steered light 

Into a shady, fresh, and ripply cove, 

Where nested was an arbour, overwove 

By many a summer's silent fingering ; 

To whose cool bosom she was used to bring 

Her playmates, with their needle broidery, 

And minstrel memories of times gone by. 



ENDYMION. 21 

So she was gently glad to see him laid 
Under her favourite bower's quiet shade, 
On her own couch, new made of flower leaves, 
Dried carefully on the cooler side of sheaves 
When last the sun his autumn tresses shook, 
And the tann'd harvesters rich armfuls took. 
Soon was he quieted to slumbrous rest : 
But, ere it crept upon him, he had prest 
Peona's busy hand against his lips, 
And still, a-sleeping, held her finger-tips 
In tender pressure. And as a willow keeps 
A patient watch over the stream that creeps 
Windingly by it, so the quiet maid 
Held her in peace : so that a whispering blade 
Of grass, a wailful gnat, a bee bustling 
Down in the blue-bells, or a wren light rustling 
Among sere leaves and twigs, might all be heard. 

O magic sleep ! O comfortable bird, 
That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind 
Till it is hush'd and smooth ! O unconfined 
Eestraint ! imprison' d liberty ! great key 
To golden palaces, strange minstrelsy, 
Fountains grotesque, new trees, bespangled caves, 
Echoing grottoes, full of tumbling waves 
And moonlight ; ay, to all the mazy world 
Of silvery enchantment ! who, upfurl'd 
Beneath thy drowsy wing a triple hour, 
But renovates and lives ? Thus, in the bower, 
Endymion was calm'd to life again. 
Opening his eyelids with a healthier brain, 
He said : " I feel this thine endearing love 



22 ENDYMION. 

All through my bosom : thou art as a dove 
Trembling its closed eyes and sleeked wings 
About me ; and the pearliest dew not brings 
Such morning incense from the fields of May, 
As do those brighter drops that twinkling stray 
From those kind eyes, the very home and haunt 
Of sisterly affection. Can I want 
Aught else, aught nearer heaven, than such tears ? 
Yet dry them up, in bidding hence all fears 
That, any longer, I will pass my days 
Alone and sad. JN"o, I will once more raise 
My voice upon the mountain-heights ; once more 
Make my horn parley from their foreheads hoar : 
Again my trooping hounds their tongues shall loll 
Around the breathed boar : again I'll poll 
The fair-grown yew-tree, for a chosen bow : 
And, when the pleasant sun is getting low, 
Again I'll linger in a sloping mead 
To hear the speckled thrushes, and see feed 
Our idle sheep. So be thou cheered, sweet ! 
And, if thy lute is here, softly entreat 
My soul to keep in its resolved course." 

Hereat Peona, in their silver source, . 
Shut her pure sorrow-drops with glad exclaim, 
And took a lute, from which there pulsing came 
A lively prelude, fashioning the way 
In which her voice should wander. 'Twas a lay 
More subtle-cadenced, more forest wild 
Than Dryope's lone lulling of her child ; 
And nothing since has floated in the air 
So mournful strange. Surely some influence rare 



ENDYMION. '23 

Went, spiritual, through the damsel's hand ; 

For still, with Delphic emphasis, she spann'd 

The quick invisible strings, even though she saw 

Endymion's spirit melt away and thaw 

Before the deep intoxication. 

But soon she came, with sudden burst, upon 

Her self-possession swung the lute aside, 

And earnestly said : " Brother, 'tis vain to hide 

That thou dost know of things mysterious, 

Immortal, starry ; such alone could thus 

Weigh down thy nature. Hast thou sinn'd in aught 

Offeusive to the heavenly powers ? Caught 

A Paphian dove upon a message sent ? 

Thy deathful bow against some deer-herd bent, 

Sacred to Dian ? Haply, thou hast seen 

Her naked limbs among the alders green ; 

And that, alas ! is death. No, I can trace 

Something more high perplexing in thy face ! " 

Endymion look'd at her, and press' d her hand, 
And said, " Art thou so pale, who wast so bland 
And merry in our meadows ? How is this ? 
Tell me thine ailment : tell me all amiss ! 
Ah ! thou hast been unhappy at the change 
Wrought suddenly in me. What indeed more strange ? 
Or more complete to overwhelm surmise ? 
Ambition is no sluggard : 'tis no prize, 
That toiling years would put within my grasp, 
That I have sigh'd for : with so deadly gasp 
No man e'er panted for a mortal love. 
So all have set my heavier grief above 
These things which happen. Eightly have they done : 



J i i:\DYMlON. 

I, who still saw the horizontal sun 

Heave his broad shoulder o'er the edge of the world, 

Out-facing Lucifer, and then had hurl'd 

My spear aloft, as signal for the chase 

I, who, for very sport of heart, would race 

With my own steed from Araby ; pluck down 

A vulture from his towery perching ; frown 

A lion into growling, loth retire 

To lose, at once, all my toil-breeding fire, 

And sink thus low ! but I will ease my breast 

Of secret grief, here in this bowery nest. 

" This river does not see the naked sky, 
Till it begins to progress silverly 
Around the western border of the wood, 
Whence, from a certain spot, its winding flood 
Seems at the distance like a crescent moon : 
And in that nook, the very pride of June, 
Had I been used to pass my weary eves ; 
The rather for the sun unwilling leaves 
So dear a picture of his sovereign power, 
And I could witness his most kingly hour, 
When he doth tighten up the golden reins, 
And paces leisurely down amber plains 
His snorting four. Now when his chariot last 
Its beams against the zodiac-lion cast, 
There blossom' d suddenly a magic bed 
Of sacred dittany, and poppies red : 
At which I wonder'd greatly, knowing well 
That but one night had wrought this flowery spell ; 
And, sitting down close by, began to muse 
What it might mean. Perhaps, thought I, Morpheus, 



ENDYMION. 25 

In passing here, his owlet pinions shook ; 

Or, it may be, ere matron Night uptook 

Her ebon urn, young Mercury, by stealth, 

Had dipp'd his rod in it : such garland wealth 

Came not by common growth. Thus on I thought, 

Until my head was dizzy and distraught. 

Moreover, through the dancing poppies stole 

A breeze most softly lulling to my soul ; 

And shaping visions all about my sight 

Of colours, wings, and bursts of spangly light ; 

The which became more strange, and strange, and dim, 

And then were gulf'd in a tumultuous swim : 

And then I fell asleep. Ah, can I tell 

The enchantment that afterwards befel ? 

Yet it was but a dream : yet such a dream 

That never tongue, although it overteem 

With mellow utterance, like a cavern spring, 

Could figure out and to conception bring 

All I beheld and felt. Methought I lay 

Watching the zenith, where the milky way 

Among the stars in virgin splendour pours ; 

And travelling my eye, until the doors 

Of heaven appear'd to open for my flight, 

I became loth and fearful to alight 

From such high soaring by a downward glance : 

So kept me stedfast in that airy trance, 

Spreading imaginary pinions wide. 

When, presently, the stars began to glide, 

And faint away, before my eager view : 

At which I sigh'd that I could not pursue, 

And dropp'd my vision to the horizon's verge ; 

And lo ! from opening clouds, I saw emerge 



26 ENDYMION. 

The loveliest moon, that ever silver'd o'er 
A shell for Neptune's goblet ; she did soar 
So passionately bright, my dazzled soul 
Commingling with her argent spheres did roll 
Through clear and cloudy, even when she went 
At last into a dark and vapoury tent 
Whereat, methought, the lidless-eyed train 
Of planets all were in the blue again. 
To commune with those orbs, once more I raised 
My sight right upward : but it was quite dazed 
By a bright something, sailing down apace, 
Making me quickly veil my eyes and face : 
Again I look'd, and, ye deities, 
Who from Olympus watch our destinies ! 
Whence that completed form of all completeness ? 
Whence came that high perfection of all sweetness ? 
Speak, stubborn earth, and tell me where, O where 
Hast thou a symbol of her golden hair ? 
Not oat-sheaves drooping in the western sun ; 
Not thy soft hand, fair sister ! let me shun 
Such follying before thee yet she had, 
Indeed, locks bright enough to make me mad ; 
And they were simply gordian'd up and braided, 
Leaving, in naked comeliness, unshaded, 
Her pearl round ears, white neck, and orbed brow ; 
The which were blended in, I know not how, 
With such a paradise of lips and eyes, 
Blush-tinted cheeks, half smiles, and faintest sighs, 
That, when I think thereon, my spirit clings 
And plays about its fancy, till the stings 
Of human neighbourhood envenom all. 
Unto what awful power shall I call ? 



ENDYMION. 

To what high fane ? Ah ! see her hovering feet, 
More bluely vein'd, more soft, more whitely sweet 
Than those of sea-born Venus, when she rose 
From out her cradle shell. The wind out-blows 



27 




Her scarf into a fluttering pavilion ; 
'Tis blue, and over-spangled with a million 
Of little eyes, as though thou wert to shed, 
Over the darkest, lushest blue-bell bed, 
Handfuls of daisies." "Endymion, how strange! 
Dream within dream ! " " She took an airy range, 
And then, towards me, like a very maid, 
Came blushing, waning, willing, and afraid, 



28 ENDYMIUN. 

And press'd me by the hand : Ah ! 'twas too much 

Methought I fainted at the charmed touch, 

Yet held my recollection, even as one 

"Who dives three fathoms where the waters run 

Gurgling in beds of coral : for anon, 

I felt upmounted in that region 

Where falling stars dart their artillery forth, 

And eagles struggle with the buffeting north 

That balances the heavy meteor-stone ; 

Pelt too, I was not fearful, nor alone, 

But lapp'd and lull'd along the dangerous sky. 

Soon, as it seem'd, we left our journeying high, 

And straightway into frightful eddies swoop'd ; 

Such as aye muster where grey time has scoop'd 

Huge dens and caverns in a mountain's side : 

There hollow sounds aroused me, and I sigh'd 

To faint once more by looking on my bliss 

I was distracted ; madly did I kiss 

The wooing arms which held me, and did give 

My eyes at once to death : but 'twas to live, 

To take in draughts of life from the gold fount 

Of kind and passionate looks ; to count, and count 

The moments, by some greedy help that seem'd 

A second self, that each might be redeem'd 

And plunder'd of its load of blessedness. 

Ah, desperate mortal ! I even dared to press 

Her very cheek against my crowned lip, 

And, at that moment, felt my body dip 

Into a warmer air : a moment more, 

Our feet were soft in flowers. There was store 

Of newest joys upon that alp. Sometimes 

A scent of violets, and blossoming limes, 



ENDYMION. 29 

Loiter' d around us ; then of honey cells, 
Made delicate from all white-flower bells ; 
And once, above the edges of our nest, 
An arch face peep'd, an Oread as I guess' d. 

" Why did I dream that sleep o'er-power'd me 
In midst of all this heaven ? Why not see, 
Far off, the shadows of his pinions dark, 
And stare them from me ? But no, like a spark 
That needs must die, although its little beam 
Reflects upon a diamond, my sweet dream 
Fell into nothing into stupid sleep. 
And so it was, until a gentle creep, 
A careful moving caught my waking ears, 
And up I started : Ah ! my sighs, my tears, 
My clenched hands ; for lo ! the poppies hung 
Dew-dabbled on their stalks, the ouzel sung 
A heavy ditty, and the sullen day 
Had chidden herald Hesperus away, 
With leaden looks : the solitary breeze 
Bluster' d, and slept, and its wild self did tease 
With wayward melancholy ; and I thought, 
Mark me, Peona! that sometimes it brought 
Faint fare-thee-wells, and sigh-shrilled adieus ! 
Away I wander 'd all the pleasant hues 
Of heaven and earth had faded : deepest shades 
Were deepest dungeons ; heaths and sunny glades 
Were full of pestilent light ; our taintless rills 
Seem'd sooty, and o'erspread with upturn'd gills 
Of dying fish ; the vermeil rose had blown 
In frightful scarlet, and its thorns outgrown 
Like spiked aloe. If an innocent bird 



30 ENDYMION. 

Before my heedless footsteps stirr'd, and stirr'd 

In little journeys, I beheld in it 

A disguised demon, missioned to knit 

My soul with under darkness ; to entice 

My stumblings down some monstrous precipice : 

Therefore I eager follow'd, and did curse 

The disappointment. Time, that aged nurse, 

Eock'd me to patience. Now, thank gentle heaven ! 

These things, with all their comfortings, are given 

To my down-sunken hours, and with thee, 

Sweet sister, help to stem the ebbing sea 

Of weary life." 

Thus ended he, and both 
Sat silent : for the maid was very loth 
To answer ; feeling well that breathed words 
Would all be lost, unheard, and vain as swords 
Against the enchased crocodile, or leaps 
Of grasshoppers against the sun. She weeps, 
And wonders ; struggles to devise some blame ; 
To put on such a look as would say, Shame 
On this poor weakness ! but, for all her strife, 
She could as soon have crush' d away the life 
From a sick dove. At length, to break the pause, 
She said with trembling chance : " Is this the cause ? 
This all ? Yet it is strange, and sad, alas ! 
That one who through this middle earth should pass 
Most like a sojourning demi-god, and leave 
His name upon the harp-string, should achieve 
No higher bard than simple maidenhood, 
Singing alone, and fearfully, how the blood 
Left his young cheek ; and how lie used to stray 



ENDYMION. 31 

He knew not where : and how he would say, nay, 

If any said 'twas love : and yet 'twas love ; 

What could it be but love ? How a ring-dove 

Let fall a sprig of yew-tree in his path 

And how he died : and then, that love doth scathe 

The gentle heart, as northern blasts do roses ; 

And then the ballad of his sad life closes 

With sighs, and an alas ! Endymion ! 

Be rather in the trumpet's mouth, anon 

Among the winds at large that all may hearken ! 

Although, before the crystal heavens darken, 

I watch and dote upon the silver lakes 

Pictured in western cloudiness, that takes 

The semblance of gold rocks and bright gold sands, 

Islands, and creeks, and amber-fretted strands 

With horses prancing o'er them, palaces 

And towers of amethyst, would I so tease 

My pleasant days, because I could not mount 

Into those regions ? The Morphean fount 

Of that fine element that visions, dreams, 

And fitful whims of sleep are made of, streams 

Into its airy channels with so subtle, 

So thin a breathing, not the spider's shuttle, 

Circled a million times within the space 

Of a swallow's nest-door, could delay a trace, 

A tinting of its quality : how light 

Must dreams themselves be ; seeing they're more slight 

Than the mere nothing that engenders them ! 

Then wherefore sully the entrusted gem 

Of high and noble life with thoughts so sick ? 

Why pierce high-fronted honour to the quick 

For nothing but a dream ? " Hereat the youth 



32 ENDYMION. 

Look'd up : a conflicting of shame and ruth 
Was in his plaited brow t yet his eyelids 
"Widen' d a little, as when Zephyr bids 
A little breeze to creep between the fans 
Of careless butterflies : amid his pains 
He seem'd to taste a drop of manna-dew, 
Full palatable ; and a colour grew 
Upon his cheek, while thus he lifeful spake. 

" Peona ! ever have I long'd to slake 
My thirst for the world's praises : nothing base, 
No merely slumberous phantasm, could unlace 
The stubborn canvas for my voyage prepared 
Though now 'tis tatter'd ; leaving my bark bared 
And sullenly drifting : yet my higher hope 
Is of too wide, too rainbow-large a scope, 
To fret at myriads of earthly wrecks. 
Wherein lies happiness ? In that which becks 
Our ready minds to fellowship divine, 
A fellowship with essence ; till we shine, 
Full alchemized, and free of space. Behold 
The clear religion of heaven ! Fold 
A rose-leaf round thy finger's taperness, 
And soothe thy lips : hist ! when the airy stress 
Of music's kiss impregnates the free winds, 
And with a sympathetic touch unbinds 
iEolian magic from their lucid wombs : 
Then old songs waken from enclouded tombs ; 
Old ditties sigh above their father's grave ; 
Ghosts of melodious prophesyings rave 
Round every spot where trod Apollo's foot ; 
Bronze clarions awake, and faintly bruit, 



ENDYMION. 33 

Where long ago a giant battle was ; 

And, from the turf, a lullaby doth pass 

In every place where infant Orpheus slept. 

Feel we these things! that moment have we stept 

Into a sort of oneness, and our state 

Is' like a floating spirit's. But there are 

liicher entanglements, enthralmeuts far 

More self-destroying, leading, by degrees, 

To the chief intensity : the crown of these 

Is made of love and friendship, and sits high 

Upon the forehead of humanity. 

All its more ponderous and bulky worth 

Is friendship, whence there ever issues forth 

A steady splendour ; but at the tip-top, 

There hangs by unseen film, an orbed drop 

Of light, and that is love : its influence 

Thrown in our eyes genders a novel sense, 

At which we start and fret: till in the end, 

Melting into its radiance, we blend, 

Mingle, and so become a part of it, 

Nor with aught else can our souls interknit 

So wingedly : when we combine therewith, 

Life's self is nourish'd by its proper pith, 

And we are nurtured like a pelican brood. 

Ay, so delicious is the un sating food, 

That men, who might have tower'd in the van 

Of all the congregated world, to fan 

And winnow from the coming step of time 

All chaif of custom, w T ipe away all slime 

Left by men-slugs and human serpentry, 

Have been content to let occasion die, 

Whilst they did sleep in love's Elysium. 



34 KNDYMION. 

And, truly, I would rather be struck dumb, 

Than speak against this ardent listlessness : 

For I have ever thought that it might bless 

The world with benefits unknowingly ; 

As does the nightingale, up-perched high, 

And cloister'd among cool and bunched leaves 

She sings but to her love, nor e'er conceives 

How tiptoe Night holds back her dark-grey hood. 

Just so may love, although 'tis understood 

The mere commingling of passionate breath, 

Produce more than our searching witnesseth : 

What I know not : but who, of men, can tell 

That flowers would bloom, or that green fruit would swell 

To melting pulp, that fish would have bright mail, 

The earth its dower of river, wood, and vale, 

The meadows runnels, runnels pebble-stones, 

The seed its harvest, or the lute its tones, 

Tones ravishment, or ravishment its sweet, 

If human souls did never kiss and greet ? 

" Now, if this earthly love has power to make 
Men's being mortal, immortal ; to shake 
Ambition from their memories, and brim 
Their measure of content ; what merest whim, 
Seems all this poor endeavour after fame, 
To one, who keeps within his stedfast aim 
A love immortal, an immortal too. 
Look not so wilder'd ; for these things are true. 
And never can be born of atomies 
That buzz about our slumbers, like brain-flies, 
Leaving us fancy-sick. No, no, I'm sure, 
My restless spirit never could endure 



r 



ENDYMION. 

To brood so long upon one luxury, 

Unless it did, though fearfully, espy 

A hope beyond the shadow of a dream. 

My sayings will the less obscured seem 

When I have told thee how my waking sight 

Has made me scruple whether that same night 

Was pass'd in dreaming. Hearken, sweet Peona! 

Beyond the matron-temple of Latona, 

Which we should see but for these darkening boughs, 

Lies a deep hollow, from whose ragged brows 

Bushes and trees do lean all round athwart, 

And meet so nearly, that with wings outraught, 

And spreaded tail, a vulture could not glide 

Past them, but he must brush on every side. 

Some moulder' d steps lead into this cool cell, 

Far as the slabbed margin of a well, 

Whose patient level peeps its crystal eye 

Eight upward, through the bushes, to the sky. 

Oft have I brought thee flowers, on their stalks set 

Like vestal primroses, but dark velvet 

Edges them round, and they have golden pits : 

'Twas there I got them, from the gaps and slits 

In a mossy stone, that sometimes was my seat, 

When all above was faint with mid-day heat. 

And there in strife no burning thoughts to heed, 

I'd bubble up the water through a reed ; 

So reaching back to boyhood : make me ships 

Of moulted feathers, touchwood, alder chips, 

With leaves stuck in them ; and the Neptune be 

Of their petty ocean. Oftener, heavily, 

When lovelorn hours had left me less a child, 

I sat contemplating the figures wild 



36 ENDYMION. 

Of o'er-head clouds melting the mirror through. 
Upon a day, while thus I watch' d, by flew 
A cloudy Cupid, with his bow and quiver ; 
So plainly character'd, no breeze would shiver 




The happy chance: so happy, 1 was i;iin 
To follow it upon the open plain, 
And, therefore, was just going ; when, behold! 
A wonder, fair as any I have told 



ENDYMIOff. 

The same bright face I tasted in my sleep, 

Smiling in the clear well. My heart did leap 

Through the cool depth. It moved as if to flee 

I started up, when lo ! refreshful! y, 

There came upon my face, in plenteous showers, 

Dew-drops, and dewy buds, and leaves, and flowers, 

Wrapping all objects from my smother' d sight, 

Bathing my spirit in a new delight. 

Ay, such a breathless honey-feel of bliss 

Alone preserved me from the drear abyss 

Of death, for the fair form had gone again. 

Pleasure is oft a visitant ; but pain 

Clings cruelly to us, like the gnawing sloth 

On the deer's tender haunches : late, and loth, 

'Tis scared away by slow-returning pleasure. 

How sickening, how dark the dreadful leisure 

Of weary days, made deeper exquisite, 

By a foreknowledge of unslumbrous night ! 

Like sorrow came upon me, heavier still, 

Than when I wander'd from the poppy hill : 

And a whole age of lingering moments crept 

Sluggishly by, ere more contentment swept 

Away at once the deadly yellow spleen. 

Tes, thrice have I this fair enchantment seen ; 

Once more been tortured with renewed life. 

When last the wintry gusts gave over strife 

With the conquering sun of spring, and left the skies 

Warm and serene, but yet with moisten' d eyes 

In pity of the shatter' d infant buds, 

That time thou didst adorn, with amber studs, 

My hunting-cap, because I laugh'd and smiled, 

Chatted with thee, and manv days exiled 



38 ENDYMION. 

All torment from my breast ; 'twas even then, 
Straying about, yet coop'd up in the den 
Of helpless discontent, hurling my lance 
From place to place, and following at chance, 
At last, by hap, through some young trees it struck, 
And, plashing among bedded pebbles, stuck 
In the middle of a brook, whose silver ramble 
Down twenty little falls through reeds and bramble, 
Tracing along, it brought me to a cave, 
"Whence it ran brightly forth, and white did lave 
The nether sides of mossy stones and rock, 
'Mong which it gurgled blithe adieus, to mock 
Its own sweet grief at parting. Overhead, 
Hung a lush screen of drooping weeds, and spread 
Thick, as to curtain up some wood-nymph's home. 
' Ah ! impious mortal, whither do I roam ! ' 
Said I, low-voiced : i Ah, whither ! 'Tis the grot 
Of Proserpine, when Hell, obscure and hot, 
Doth her resign : and where her tender hands 
She dabbles on the cool and sluicy sands : 
Or 'tis the cell of Echo, where she sits, 
And babbles thorough silence, till her wits 
Are gone in tender madness, and anon, 
Faints into sleep, with many a dying tone 
Of sadness. O that she would take my vows, 
And breathe them sighingly among the boughs, 
To sue her gentle ears for whose fair head, 
Daily, I pluck sweet flowerets from their bed, 
And weave them dyingly send honey-whispers 
Round every leaf, that all those gentle lispers 
May sigh my love unto her pitying ! 
O charitable Echo ! hear, and sing 



ENDYMION. 39 

This ditty to her ! tell her' So I stay'd 

My foolish tongue, and listening, half afraid, 

Stood stupefied with my own empty folly, 

And blushing for the freaks of melancholy. 

Salt tears were coming, when I heard my name 

Most fondly lipp'd, and then these accents came : 

' Endymion ! the cave is secreter 

Than the isle of Delos. Echo hence shall stir 

No sighs but sigh-warm kisses, or light noise 

Of thy combing hand, the while it travelling cloys 

And trembles through my labyrinthine hair.' 

At that oppress' d, I hurried in. Ah ! where 

Are those swift moments ! Whither are they tied ? 

I'll smile no more, Peona ; nor will wed 

Sorrow, the way to death ; but patiently 

Bear up against it : so farewell, sad sigh ; 

And come instead demurest meditation, 

To occupy me wholly, and to fashion 

My pilgrimage for the world's dusky brink. 

No more will I count over, link by link, 

My chain of grief : no longer strive to find 

A half-forgetfulness in mountain wind 

Blustering about my ears : ay, thou shalt see, 

Dearest of sisters, what my life shall be ; 

What a calm round of hours shall make my days. 

There is a paly flame of hope that plays 

Where'er I look : but yet, I'll say 'tis nought 

And here I bid it die. Have not I caught, 

Already, a more healthy countenance ? 

By this the sun is setting ; we may chance 

Meet some of our near-dwellers with my car." 



BOOK II. 

O sovereign power of love! grief! O balm! 

All records, saving thine, come cool, and calm, 

And shadowy, through the mist of passed years : 

For others, good or bad, hatred and tears 

Have become indolent ; but touching thine, 

One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine, 

One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days. 

The woes of Troy, towers smothering o'er their blaze, 

StifF-holden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades, 

Struggling, and blood, and shrieks all dimly fades 

Into some backward corner of the brain ; 

Yet, in our very souls, we feel amain 

The close of Troilus and Cressid sweet. 

Hence, pageant history ! hence, gilded cheat ! 

Swart planet in the universe of deeds! 

Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds 

Along the pebbled shore of memory ! 

Many old rotten-timber' d boats there be 

Upon thy vaporous bosom, magnified 

To goodly vessels ; many a sail of pride, 



44 ENDYMION. 

And golden-keel' d, is left unlaunch'd and dry. 

But wherefore this ? What care, though owl did fly 

About the great Athenian admiral's mast ? 

What care, though striding Alexander past 

The Indus with his Macedonian numbers ? 

Though old Ulysses tortured from his slumbers 

The glutted Cyclops, what care ? Juliet leaning 

Amid her window-flowers, sighing, weaning 

Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow, 

Doth more avail than these : the silver flow 

Of Hero's tears, the swoon of Imogen, 

Fair Pastorella in the bandit's den, 

Are things to brood on with more ardency 

Than the death-day of empires. Fearfully 

Must such conviction come upon his head, 

Who, thus far, discontent, has dared to tread, 

Without one muse's smile, or kind behest, 

The path of love and poesy. But rest, 

In chafing restlessness, is yet more drear 

Than to be crush'd, in striving to uprear 

Love's standard on the battlements of song. 

So once more days and nights aid me along, 

Like legion'd soldiers. 

Brain-sick shepherd-prince ! 
What promise hast thou faithful guarded since 
The day of sacrifice? Or, have new sorrows 
Come with the constant dawn upon thy morrows \ 
Alas ! 'tis his old grief. For many days, 
Has he been wandering in uncertain ways : 
Through wilderness, and woods of mossed oaks ; 
Counting his woe- worn minutes, by the strokes 



ENDYM10N. 45 

Of the lone wood-cutter ; and listening still, 
Hour after hour, to each lush-leaved rill. 
Now he is sitting by a shady spring, 
And elbow-deep with feverous fingering 
Stems the upbursting cold : a wild rose-tree 
Pavilions him in bloom, and he doth see 
A bud which snares his fancy : lo ! but now 
He plucks it, dips its stalk in the water : how ! 
It swells, it buds, it flowers beneath his sight ; 
And, in the middle, there is softly pight 
A golden butterfly ; upon whose wings 
There must be surely character' d strange things, 
For with wide eye he wonders, and smiles oft. 

Lightly this little herald flew aloft, 
Follow'd by glad Endymion's clasped hands : 
Onward it flies. From languor's sullen bands 
His limbs are loosed, and eager, on he hies 
Dazzled to trace it in the sunny skies. 
It seem'd he flew, the way so easy was ; 
And like a new-born spirit did he pass 
Through the green evening quiet in the sun, 
O'er many a heath, through many a woodland dun, 
Through buried paths, where sleepy twilight dreams 
The summer time away. One track unseams 
A wooded cleft, and, far away, the blue 
Of ocean fades upon him ; then, anew, 
He sinks adown a solitary glen, 
Where there was never sound of mortal men, 
Saving, perhaps, some snow-light cadences 
Melting to silence, when upon the breeze 
Some holy bark let fortli an anthem sweet, 



46 ENDYMION. 

To cheer itself to Delphi. Still his feet 
Went swift beneath the merry-winged guide, 
Until it reach' d a splashing fountain's side 
That, near a cavern's mouth, for ever pour'd 
Unto the temperate air ; then high it soar'd, 
And, downward, suddenly began to dip, 
As if, athirst with so much toil, 'twould sip 
The crystal spout-head : so it did, with toucli 
Most delicate, as though afraid to smutch 
Even with mealy gold the waters clear. 
But, at that very touch, to disappear 
So fairy-quick, was strange ! Bewildered, 
Endymion sought around, and shook each bed 
Of covert flowers in vain ; and then he flung 
Himself along the grass. What gentle tongue, 
What whisperer disturb' d his gloomy rest ? 
It was a nymph uprisen to the breast 
In the fountain's pebbly margin, and she stood 
'Mong lilies, like the youngest of the brood. 
To him her dripping hand she softly kist, 
And anxiously began to plait and twist 
Her ringlets round her fingers, saying : " Youth ! 
Too long, alas, hast thou starved on the ruth, 
The bitterness of love : too long indeed, 
Seeing thou art so gentle. Could I weed 
Thy soul of care, by heavens, I would offer 
All the bright riches of my crystal coffer 
To Amphitrite ; all my clear-eyed fish, 
Golden, or rainbow-sided, or purplish, 
Verm ilion- tail' d, or finn'd with silvery gauze ; 
Yea, or my veined pebble-floor, that draws 
A virgin-light to the deep ; my grotto-sands, 



ENDYMION. 



17 



Tawny and gold, oozed slowly from far lands 
By my diligent springs : my level lilies, shells, 
My charming-rod, my potent river spells j 




Yes, everything, even to the pearly cup 
Meander gave me, for I bubbled up 
To fainting creatures in a desert wild. 



48 ENDYMION. 

But woe is me, I am but as a child 

To gladden thee ; and all I dare to say, 

Is, that I pity thee ; that on this day 

I've been thy guide ; that thou must wander far 

In other regions, past the scanty bar 

To mortal steps, before thou canst be ta'en 

From every wasting sigh, from every pain, 

Into the gentle bosom of thy love. 

Why it is thus, one knows in heaven above : 

But, a poor Naiad, 1 guess not. Farewell ! 

I have a ditty for my hollow cell." 

Hereat she vanish' d from Endymion's gaze, 
Who brooded o'er the water in amaze : 
The dashing fount pour'd on, and where its pool 
Lay, half asleep, in grass and rushes cool, 
Quick waterflies and gnats were sporting still, 
And fish were dimpling, as if good nor ill 
Had fallen out that hour. The wanderer, 
Holding his forehead, to keep off the burr 
Of smothering fancies, patiently sat down ; 
And, while beneath the evening's sleepy frown 
Glow-worms began to trim their starry lamps, 
Thus breathed he to himself: " Whoso encamps 
To take a fancied city of delight, 
O what a wretch is he ! and when 'tis his, 
After long toil and travelling, to miss 
The kernel of his hopes, how more than vile ! 
Yet, for him there's refreshment even in toil : 
Another city doth he set about, 
Free from the smallest pebble-bead of doubt 
That he will seize on trickling honey-combs I 



ENDYMION. 49 

Alas ! he finds them dry ; and then lie foams, 

And onward to another city speeds. 

But this is human life : the war, the deeds, 

The disappointment, the anxiety, 

Imagination's struggles, far and nigh, 

All human ; bearing in themselves this good, 

That they are still the air, the subtle food, 

To make us feel existence, and to show 

How quiet death is. "Where soil is men grow, 

"Whether to weeds or flowers ; but for me, 

There is no depth to strike in : I can see 

Nought earthly worth my compassing ; so stand 

Upon a misty, jutting head of land 

Alone ? No, no ; and by the Orphean lute, 

"When mad Eurydice is listening to 't, 

I'd rather stand upon this misty peak, 

"With not a thing to sigh for, or to seek, 

But the soft shadow of my thrice-seen love, 

Than be I care not what. O meekest dove 

Of heaven ! O Cynthia, ten-times bright and fair ! 

From thy blue throne, now filling all the air, 

Glance but one little beam of temper'd light 

Into my bosom, that the dreadful might 

And tyranny of love be somewhat scared ! 

Yet do not so, sweet queen ; one torment spared, 

Would give a pang to jealous misery, 

"Worse than the torment's self: but rather tie 

Large wings upon my shoulders, and point out 

My love's far dwelling. Though the playful rout 

Of Cupids shun thee, too divine art thou, 

Too keen in beauty, for thy silver prow 

Not to have dipp'd in love's most gentle stream. 



50 ENDYMION. 

O be propitious, nor severely deem 

My madness impious ; for, by all the stars 

That tend thy bidding, I do think the bars 

That kept my spirit in are burst that I 

Am sailing with thee through the dizzy sky ! 

How beautiful thou art ! The world how deep ! 

How tremulous-dazzlingly the wheels sweep 

Around their axle ! Then these gleaming reins, 

How lithe ! When this thy chariot attains 

Its airy goal, haply some bower veils 

Those twilight eyes ? Those eyes ! my spirit fails ; 

Dear goddess, help ! or the wide-gaping air 

"Will gulf me help ! " At this, with madden'd stare, 

And lifted hands, and trembling lips, he stood ; 

Like old Deucalion mountain'd o'er the flood, 

Or blind Orion hungry for the morn. 

And, but from the deep cavern there was borne 

A voice, he had been froze to senseless stone ; 

Nor sigh of his, nor plaint, nor passion'd moan 

Had more been heard. Thus swell'd it forth : " Descend, 

Young mountaineer ! descend where alleys bend 

Into the sparry hollows of the world ! 

Oft hast thou seen bolts of the thunder hurlM 

As from thy threshold ; day by day hast been 

A little lower than the chilly sheen 

Of icy pinnacles, and dipp'dst thine arms 

Into the deadening ether that still charms 

Their marble being : now, as deep profound 

As those are high, descend ! He ne'er i* crown'd 

"With immortality, who fears to follow 

Where airy voices lead : so through the hollow, 

The silent mysteries of earth, descend! " 



ENDYMION. 51 

He heard but the last words, nor could contend 
One moment in reflection : for he fled 
Into the fearful deep, to hide his head 
From the clear moon, the trees, and coming madness. 

'Twas far too strange, and wonderful for sadness ; 
Sharpening, by degrees, his appetite 
To dive into the deepest. Dark, nor light, 
The region ; nor bright, nor sombre wholly, 
But mingled up ; a gleaming melancholy ; 
A dusky empire and its diadems ; 
One faint eternal eventide of gems. 
Ay, millions sparkled on a vein of gold, 
Along whose track the prince quick footsteps told, 
With all its lines abrupt and angular : 
Out-shooting sometimes, like a meteor-star, 
Through a vast antre ; then the metal woof, 
Like Vulcan's rainbow, with some monstrous roof 
Curves hugely : now, far in the deep abyss, 
It seems an angry lightning, and doth hiss 
Fancy into belief : anon it leads 
Through winding passages, where sameness breeds 
Vexing conceptions of some sudden change ; 
"Whether to silver grots, or giant range 
Of sapphire columns, or fantastic bridge 
Athwart a flood of crystal. On a ridge 
Now fareth he, that o'er the vast beneath 
Towers like an ocean-cliff', and whence he seeth 
A hundred waterfalls, whose voices come 
But as the murmuring surge. Chilly and numb 
His bosom grew, when first he, far away, 
Described an orbed diamond, set to fray 



52 ENDYMION. 

Old Darkness from his throne : 'twas like the sun 

Uprisen o'er chaos : and with such a stun 

Came the amazement, that, absorb'd in it, 

He saw not fiercer wonders past the wit 

Of any spirit to tell, but one of those 

Who, when this planet's sphering time doth close, 

Will be its high remembrancers : who they ? 

The mighty ones who have made eternal day 

For Greece and England. While astonishment 

With deep-drawn sighs was quieting, he went 

Into a marble gallery, passing through 

A mimic temple, so complete and true 

In sacred custom, that he well nigh fear'd 

To search it inwards ; whence far off appear'd, 

Through a long pillar'd vista, a fair shrine, 

And, just beyond, on light tiptoe divine, 

A quiver' d Dian. Stepping awfully, 

The youth approach'd ; oft turning his veil'd eye 

Down sidelong aisles, and into niches old : 

And, when more near against the marble cold 

He had touch' d his forehead, he began to thread 

All courts and passages, where silence dead, 

Roused by his whispering footsteps, murmur'd faint 

And long he traversed to and fro, to acquaint 

Himself with every mystery, and awe ; 

Till, weary, he sat down before the maw 

Of a wide outlet, fathomless and dim, 

To wild uncertainty and shadows grim. 

There, when new wonders ceased to float before, 

And thoughts of self came on, how crude and sore 

The journey homeward to habitual self ! 

A mad-pursuing of the fog-born elf, 



HNDYMION. 53 

Whose flitting lantern, through rude nettle-brier, 
Cheats us into a swamp, into a fire, 
Into the bosom of a hated thing. 

"What misery most drowningly doth sing 
In lone Endymion's ear, now he has caught 
The goal of consciousness ? Ah, 'tis the thought, 
The deadly feel of solitude : for lo ! 
He cannot see the heavens, nor the flow 
Of rivers, nor hill-flowers running wild 
In pink and purple chequer, nor, up-piled, 
The cloudy rack slow journeying in the west, 
Like herded elephants ; nor felt, nor prest 
Cool grass, nor tasted the fresh slumberous air ; 
But far from such companionship to wear 
An unknown time, surcharged with grief, away, 
Was now his lot. And must he patient stay, 
Tracing fantastic figures with his spear ? 
" No ! " exclaim'd he, " why should I tarry here ? " 
No ! loudly echoed times innumerable. 
At which he straightway started, and 'gan tell 
His paces back into the temple's chief; 
Warming and glowing strong in the belief 
Of help from Dian : so that when again 
He caught her airy form, thus did he plain, 
Moving more near the while : " Haunter chaste 
Of river sides, and woods, and heathy waste, 
Where with thy silver bow and arrows keen 
Art thou now forested ? O woodland Queen, 
What smoothest air thy smoother forehead woos ? 
Where dost thou listen to the wide halloos 
Of thy disparted nymphs ? Through what dark tree 



54 ENDYMION. 

Glimmers thy crescent ? Wheresoe'er it be, 

'Tis in the breath of heaven : thou dost taste 

Freedom as none can taste it, nor dost waste 

Thy loveliness in dismal elements ; 

But, finding in our green earth sweet contents, 

There livest blissfully. Ah, if to thee 

It feels Elysian, how rich to me, 

An exiled mortal, sounds its pleasant name ! 

Within my breast there lives a choking flame 

O let me cool it zephyr-boughs among ! 

A homeward fever parches up my tongue 

O let me slake it at the running springs ! 

Upon my ear a noisy nothing rings 

O let me once more hear the linnet's note ! 

Before mine eyes thick films and shadows float 

O let me 'noint them with the heaven's light ! 

Dost thou now lave thy feet and ankles white ? 

O think how sweet to me the freshening sluice ! 

Dost thou now please thy thirst with berry-juice ? 

O think how this dry palate would rejoice ! 

If in soft slumber thou dost hear my voice, 

O think how I should love a bed of flowers ! 

Young goddess ! let me see my native bowers ! 

Deliver me from this rapacious deep ! " 

Thus ending loudly, as he would o'erleap 
His destiny, alert he stood : but when 
Obstinate silence came heavily again, 
Feeling about for its old couch of space 
And airy cradle, lowly bow'd his face, 
Desponding, o'er the marble floor's cold thrill. 
But 'twas not long ; for, sweeter than the rill 



ENDYMION. 55 

To its old channel, or a swollen tide 

To margin sallows, where the leaves he spied, 

And flowers, and wreaths, and ready myrtle crowns 

Up heaping through the slab : refreshment drowns 

Itself, and strives its own delights to hide 

Nor in one spot alone ; the floral pride 

In a long whispering birth enchanted grew 

Before his footsteps ; as when heaved anew 

Old ocean rolls a lengthen' d wave to the shore, 

Down whose green back the short-lived foam, all hoar, 

Bursts gradual, with a wayward indolence. 

Increasing still in heart, and pleasant sense, 
Upon his fairy journey on he hastes ; 
So anxious for the end, he scarcely wastes 
One moment with his hand among the sweets : 
Onward he goes he stops his bosom beats 
As plainly in his ear, as the faint charm 
Of which the throbs were born. This still alarm, 
This sleepy music, forced him walk tiptoe : 
For it came more softly than the east could blow 
Arion's magic to the Atlantic isles ; 
Or than the west, made jealous by the smiles 
Of throned Apollo, could breathe back the lyre 
To seas Ionian and Tyrian. 

O did he ever live, that lonely man, 
Who loved and music slew not ? 'Tis the pest 
Of love, that fairest joys give most unrest ; 
That things of delicate and tenderest worth 
Are swallow'd all, and made a seared dearth, 
By one consuming flame : it doth immerse 



56 ENDYMION. 

And suffocate true blessings in a curse. 
Half-happy, by comparison of bliss, 
Is miserable. 'Twas even so with this 
Dew-dropping melody, in the Carian's ear ; 
First heaven, then hell, and then forgotten clear, 
Vanish'd in elemental passion. 

And down some swart abysm he had gone, 
Had not a heavenly guide benignant led 
To where thick myrtle branches, 'gainst his head 
Brushing, awaken'd : then the sounds again 
Went noiseless as a passing noontide rain 
Over a bower, where little space he stood ; 
For as the sunset peeps into a wood, 
So saw he panting light, and towards it went 
Through winding alleys ; and lo, wonderment ! 
Upon soft verdure saw, one here, one there, 
Cupids a-slumbering on their pinions fair. 

After a thousand mazes overgone, 
At last, with sudden step, he came upon 
A chamber, myrtle-wall'd, embower' d high, 
Full of light, incense, tender minstrelsy, 
And more of beautiful and strange beside : 
For on a silken couch of rosy pride, 
In midst of all, there lay a sleeping youth 
Of fondest beauty ; fonder, in fair sooth, 
Than sighs could fathom, or contentment reacli : 
And coverlids gold-tinted like the peach, 
Or ripe October's faded marigolds, 
Fell sleek about him in a thousand folds 
Not hiding up an Apollonian curve 



ENDYMION. 57 

Of neck and shoulder, nor the tenting swerve 
Of knee from knee, nor ankles pointing light ; 
But rather, giving them to the fill'd sight 
Officiously. Sideway his face reposed 
On one white arm, and tenderly unclosed, 
By tenderest pressure, a faint damask mouth 
To slumbery pout ; just as the morning south 
Disparts a dew-lipp'd rose. Above his head, 
Four lily stalks did their white honours wed 
To make a coronal ; and round him grew 
All tendrils green, of every bloom and hue, 
Together intertwined and tramell'd fresh : 
The vine of glossy sprout ; the ivy mesh, 
Shading its Ethiop berries ; and woodbine, 
Of velvet leaves and bugle-blooms divine ; 
Convolvulus in streaked vases flush ; 
The creeper, mellowing for an autumn blush ; 
And virgin's bower, trailing airily ; 
With others of the sisterhood. Hard by, 
Stood serene Cupids watching silently. 
One, kneeling to a lyre, touch' d the strings, 
Muffling to death the pathos with his wings ; 
And, ever and anon, uprose to look 
At the youth's slumber; while another took 
A willow bough, distilling odorous dew, 
And shook it on his hair ; another flew 
In through the woven roof, and fluttering- wise 
Eain'd violets upon his sleeping eyes. 

At these enchantments, and yet many more, 
The breathless Latmian wonder'd o'er and o'er ; 
Until impatient in embarrassment, 



58 ENDYMION. 

He forthright pass'd, and lightly treading went 

To that same feather' d lyrist, who straightway, 

Smiling, thus whisper'd : " Though from upper day 

Thou art a wanderer, and thy presence here 

Might seem unholy, be of happy cheer ! 

For 'tis the nicest touch of human honour, 

When some ethereal and high-favouring donor 

Presents immortal bowers to mortal sense ; 

As now 'tis done to thee, Endymion. Hence 

Was I in no wise startled. So recline 

Upon these living flowers. Here is wine, 

Alive with sparkles never, I aver, 

Since Ariadne was a vintager, 

So cool a purple : taste these juicy pears, 

Sent me by sad Vertumnus, when his fears 

Were high about Pomona : here is cream, 

Deepening to richness from a snowy gleam ; 

Sweeter than that nurse Amalthea skimm'd 

For the boy Jupiter : and here, undimm'd 

By any touch, a bunch of blooming plums 

Ready to melt between an infant's gums : 

And here is manna pick'd from Syrian trees, 

In starlight, by the three Hesperides. 

Feast on, and meanwhile I will let thee know 

Of all these things around us." He did so, 

Still brooding o'er the cadence of his lyre ; 

And thus : " I need not any hearing tire 

By telling how the sea-born goddess pined 

For a mortal youth, and how she strove to bind 

Him all in all unto her doating self. 

Who would not be so prison'd ? but, fond elf, 

He was content to let her amorous plea 



ENDYMION. 59 

Faint through his careless arms ; content to see 

An unseized heaven dying at his feet ; 

Content, O fool ! to make a cold retreat, 

When on the pleasant grass such love, lovelorn, 

Lay sorrowing ; when every tear was born 

Of diverse passion ; when her lips and eyes 

Were closed in sullen moisture, and quick sighs 

Came vex'd and pettish through her nostrils small. 

Hush ! no exclaim yet, justly might' st thou call 

Curses upon his head. I was half glad, 

But my poor mistress went distract and mad, 

When the boar tusk'd him ; so away she flew 

To Jove's high throne, and by her plainings drew 

Immortal tear-drops down the thunderer's beard ; 

Whereon, it was decreed he should be rear'd 

Each summer-time to life. Lo ! this is he, 

That same Adonis, safe in the privacy 

Of this still region all his winter-sleep. 

Ay, sleep ; for when our love-sick queen did weep 

Over his waned corse, the tremulous shower 

Heal'd up the wound, and, with a balmy power, 

Medicined death to a lengthen' d drowsiness : 

The which she fills with visions, and doth dress 

In all this quiet luxury ; and hath set 

Us young immortals, without any let, 

To watch his slumber through. 'Tis well nigh pass'd, 

Even to a moment's filling up, and fast 

She scuds with summer breezes, to pant through 

The first long kiss, warm firstling, to renew 

Embower'd sports in Cytherea's isle. 

Look, how those winged listeners all this while 

Stand anxious : see ! behold ! " This clamant word 



60 ENDYMION. 

Broke through the careful silence ; for they heard 

A rustling noise of leaves, and out there flutter'd 

Pigeons and doves : Adonis something mutter' d, 

The while one hand, that erst upon his thigh 

Lay dormant, moved convulsed and gradually 

Up to his forehead. Then there was a hum 

Of sudden voices, echoing, " Come ! come ! 

Arise ! awake ! Clear summer has forth walk'd 

Unto the clover-sward, and she has talk'd 

Full soothingly to every nested finch : 

Rise, Cupids ! or we'll give the blue-bell pinch 

To your dimpled arms. Once more sweet life begin ! " 

At this, from every side they hurried in, 

Rubbing their sleepy eyes with lazy wrists, 

And doubling overhead their little fists 

In backward yawns. But all were soon alive : 

For as delicious wine doth, sparkling, dive 

In nectar' d clouds and curls through water fair, 

So from the arbour roof down swell'd an air 

Odorous and enlivening ; making all 

To laugh, and play, and sing, and loudly call 

For their sweet queen : when lo ! the wreathed green 

Disparted, and far upward could be seen 

Blue heaven, and a silver car, air-borne, 

Whose silent wheels, fresh wet from clouds of morn, 

Spun off a drizzling dew, which falling chill 

On soft Adonis' shoulders, made him still 

Nestle and turn uneasily about. 

Soon were the white doves plain, with necks stretch'd out, 

And silken traces lighten'd in descent; 

And soon, returning from love's banishment, 

Queen Venus leaning downward open-arm'd : 



ENDYMION. 



61 



Her shadow fell upon his breast, and charm' d 
A tumult to his heart, and a new life 
Into his eyes. Ah, miserable strife, 
But for her comforting ! unhappy sight, 




But meeting her blue orbs ! Who, who can write 

Of these first minutes ? The unchariest muse 

To embracements warm as theirs makes coy excuse. 



O it has ruffled every spirit there, 
Saving love's self, who stands superb to share 



62 ENDYMION. 

The general gladness : awfully he stands ; 
A sovereign quell is in his waving hands ; 
No sight can hear the lightning of his bow ; 
His quiver is mysterious, none can know 
What themselves think of it ; from forth his eyes 
There darts strange light of varied hues and dyes : 
A scowl is sometimes on his brow, but who 
Look full upon it feel anon the blue 
Of his fair eyes run liquid through their souls. 
Endymion feels it, and no more controls 
The burning prayer within him ; so, bent low, 
He had begun a plaining of his woe. 
But Yenus, bending forward, said : " My child, 
Favour this gentle youth ; his days are wild 
With love he but alas ! too well I see 
Thou know'st the deepness of his misery. 
Ah, smile not so, my son : I tell thee true, 
That when through heavy hours I used to rue 
The endless sleep of this new-born Adon', 
This stranger aye I pitied. For upon 
A dreary morning once I fled away 
Into the breezy clouds, to w T eep and pray 
For this my love : for vexing Mars had teased 
Me even to tears : thence, w r hen a little eased, 
Down-looking, vacant, through a hazy wood, 
I saw this youth as he despairing stood : 
Those same dark curls blown vagrant in the wind 
Those same full fringed lids a constant blind 
Over his sullen eyes : I saw him throw 
Himself on wither'd leaves, even as though 
Death had come sudden ; for no jot he moved, 
Yet mutter'd wildly. I could hear he loved 



ENDYMION. 

Some fair immortal, and that his embrace 

Had zoned her through the night. There is no trace 

Of this in heaven : I have mark'd each cheek, 

And find it is the vainest thing to seek ; 

And that of all things 'tis kept secretest. 

Endymion ! one day thou wilt be blest : 

So still obey the guiding hand that fends 

Thee safely through these wonders for sweet ends. 

'Tis a concealment needful in extreme ; 

And if I guess' d not so, the sunny beam 

Thou shouldst mount up to with me. Now adieu ! 

Here must we leave thee." At these words up flew 

The impatient doves, up rose the floating car, 

Up went the hum celestial. High afar 

The Latmian saw them minish into nought ; 

And, when all were clear vanish'd, still he caught 

A vivid lightning from that dreadful bow. 

When all was darken' d, with iEtnean throe 

The earth closed gave a solitary moan 

And left him once again in twilight lone. 

He did not rave, he did not stare aghast, 
For all those visions were o'ergone, and past, 
And he in loneliness : he felt assured 
Of happy times, when all he had endured 
Would seem a feather to the mighty prize. 
So, with unusual gladness, on he hies 
Through caves, and palaces of mottled ore, 
Gold dome, and crystal wall, and turquois floor, 
Black polish' d porticoes of awful shade, 
And, at the last, a diamond balustrade, 
Leading afar past wild magnificence, 



Gi ENDYMION. 

Spiral through ruggedest loop-holes, and thence 
Stretching across a void, then guiding o'er 
Enormous chasms, where, all foam and roar, 
Streams subterranean tease their granite beds ; 
Then heighten' d just above the silvery heads 
Of a thousand fountains, so that he could dash 
The waters with his spear ; but at the splash, 
Done heedlessly, those spouting columns rose 
Sudden a poplar's height, and 'gan to inclose 
His diamond path with fretwork streaming round 
Alike, and dazzling cool, and with a sound, 
Haply, like dolphin tumults, when sweet shells 
Welcome the float of Thetis. Long he dwells 
On this delight ; for, every minute's space, 
The streams with changed magic interlace : 
Sometimes like delicatest lattices, 
Cover'd with crystal vines ; then weeping trees, 
Moving about as in a gentle wind, 
Which, in a wink, to watery gauze refined, 
Pour'd into shapes of curtain' d canopies, 
Spangled, and rich with liquid broideries 
Of flowers, peacocks, swans, and naiads fair. 
Swifter than lightning went these wonders rare ; 
And then the water, into stubborn streams 
Collecting, mimick'd the wrought oaken beams, 
Pillars, and frieze, and high fantastic roof, 
Of those dusk places in times far aloof 
Cathedrals call'd. He bade a loath farewell 
To these founts Protean, passing gulf, and dell, 
And torrent, and ten thousand jutting shapes, 
Half seen through deepest gloom, and grisly gapes, 
Blackening on every side, and overhead 



ENDYMION. 65 

A vaulted dome like heaven's far bespread 

With starlight gems : ay, all so huge and strange, 

The solitary felt a hurried change 

Working within him into something dreary, 

Vex'd like a morning eagle, lost and weary, 

And purblind amid foggy midnight wolds. 

But he revives at once : for who beholds 

New sudden things, nor casts his mental slough ? 

Forth from a rugged arch, in the dusk below, 

Came mother Cybele ! alone alone 

In sombre chariot ; dark foldings thrown 

About her majesty, and front death-pale, 

With turrets crown' d. Tour maned lions hale 

The sluggish wheels ; solemn their toothed maws, 

Their surly eyes brow-hidden, heavy paws 

Uplifted drowsily, and nervy tails 

Cowering their tawny brushes. Silent sails 

This shadowy queen athwart, and faints away 

In another gloomy arch. 

Wherefore delay, 
Young traveller, in such a mournful place ? 
Art thou wayworn, or canst-not further trace 
The diamond path ? And does it indeed end 
Abrupt in middle air ? Yet earthward bend 
Thy forehead, and to Jupiter cloud-borne 
Call ardently ! He was indeed wayworn ; 
xibrupt, in middle air, his way was lost ; 
To cloud-borne Jove he bow'd, and there crost 
Towards him a large eagle, 'twixt whose wings, 
Without one impious word, himself he flings, 
Committed to the darkness and the gloom : 



ENDYMION. 

Down, down, uncertain to what pleasant doom, 
Swift as a fathoming plummet down he fell 
Through unknown things ; till exhaled asphodel, 
And rose, with spicy fannings interbreathed, 
Came swelling forth where little caves were wreathed 
So thick with leaves and mosses, that they seem'd 
Large honeycombs of green, and freshly teem'd 
"With airs delicious. In the greenest nook 
The eagle landed him, and farewell took. 

It was a jasmine bower, all bestrown 
AVith golden moss. His every sense had grown 
Ethereal for pleasure ; 'bove his head 
Flew a delight half-graspable ; his tread 
Was Hesperean ; to his capable ears 
Silence was music from the holy spheres ; 
A dewy luxury was in his eyes ; 
The little flowers felt his pleasant sighs 
And stirr'd them faintly. Verdant cave and cell 
He wander' d through, oft wondering at such swell 
Of sudden exaltation : but, " Alas ! " 
Said he, " will all this gush of feeling pass 
Away in solitude ? And must they wane, 
Like melodies upon a sandy plain, 
\Y ithout an echo ? Then shall I be left 
So sad, so melancholy, so bereft ! 
Yet still I feel immortal ! O my love, 
My breath of life, where art thou? High above, 
Dancing before the morning gates of heaven ? 
Or keeping watch among those starry* seven, 
Old Atlas' children ? Art a maid of the waters, 
One of Bhell-winding Tritons bright-hair'd daughters? 



ENDYMION. 67 

Or art, impossible ! a nymph of Dian's, 

Weaving a coronal of tender scions 

For very idleness ? Where'er thou art, 

Methinks it now is at my will to start 

Into thine arms ; to scare Aurora's train, 

And snatch thee from the morning ; o'er the main 

To scud like a wild bird, and take thee off 

From thy sea-foamy cradle ; or to doff 

Thy shepherd vest, and woo thee 'mid fresh leaves. 

No, no, too eagerly my soul deceives 

Its powerless self: I know this cannot be. 

O let me then by some sweet dreaming flee 

To her entrancements : hither sleep awhile ! 

Hither most gentle sleep ! and soothing foil 

For some few hours the coming solitude." 

Thus spake he, and that moment felt endued 
With power to dream deliciously ; so wound 
Through a dim passage, searching till he found 
The smoothest mossy bed and deepest, where 
He threw himself, and just into the air 
Stretching his indolent arms, he took, O bliss ! 
A naked waist : " Fair Cupid, whence is this ? " 
A well-known voice sigh'd, " Sweetest, here ami!" 
At which soft ravishment, with doting cry 
They trembled to each other. Helicon ! 
fountain' d hill ! Old Homer's Helicon ! 
That thou wouldst spout a little streamlet o'er 
These sorry pages ; then the verse would soar 
And sing above this gentle pair, like lark 
Over his nested young : but all is dark 
Around thine aged top, and thy clear fount 



68 ENDYMION. 

Exhales in mists to heaven. Ay, the count 

Of mighty Poets is made up ; the scroll 

Is folded by the Muses ; the bright roll 

Is in Apollo's hand : our dazed eyes 

Have seen a new tinge in the western skies : 

The world has done its duty. Yet, oh yet, 

Although the sun of poesy is set, 

These lovers did embrace, and we must weep 

That there is no old power left to steep 

A quill immortal in their joyous tears. 

Long time in silence did their anxious fears 

Question that thus it was ; long time they lay 

Fondling and kissing every doubt away ; 

Long time ere soft caressing sobs began 

To mellow into words, and then there ran 

Two bubbling springs of talk from their sweet lips. 

" O known Unknown ! from whom my being sips 

Such darling essence, wherefore may I not 

Be ever in these arms ? in this sweet spot 

Pillow my chin for ever ? ever press 

These toying hands and kiss their smooth excess ? 

Why not for ever and for ever feel 

That breath about my eyes ? Ah, thou wilt steal 

Away from me again, indeed, indeed 

Thou wilt be gone away, and wilt not heed 

My lonely madness. Speak, my kindest fair ! 

Is is it to be so ? No ! Who will dare 

To pluck thee from me? And, of thine own will. 

Full well I feel thou wouldst not leave me. Still 

Let me entwine thee surer, surer now 

How can we part ? Elysium ! Who art thou ? 

Who, that thou canst not be for ever here, 



ENDYMION. 69 

Or lift me with thee to some starry sphere ? 
Enchantress ! tell me by this soft embrace, 
By the most soft complexion of thy face, 
Those lips, O slippery blisses ! twinkling eyes, 
And by these tenderest, milky sovereignties 
These tenderest, and by the nectar-wine, 

The passion " " loved Ida the divine ! 

Endymion ! dearest ! Ah, unhappy me ! 

His soul will 'scape us O felicity ! 

How he does love me ! His poor temples beat 

To the very tune of love how sweet, sweet, sweet ! 

Revive, dear youth, or I shall faint and die ; 

Eevive, or these soft hours will hurry by 

In tranced dullness ; speak, and let that spell 

Affright this lethargy ! I cannot quell 

Its heavy pressure, and will press at least 

My lips to thine, that they may richly feast 

Until we taste the life of love again. 

What ! dost thou move ? dost kiss ? O bliss ! O pain ! 

I love thee, youth, more than I can conceive ; 

And so long absence from thee doth bereave 

My soul of any rest : yet must I hence : 

Yet, can I not to starry eminence 

Uplift thee ; nor for very shame can own 

Myself to thee. Ah, dearest ! do not groan, 

Or thou wilt force me from this secrecy, 

And I must blush in heaven. that I 

Had done it already ! that the dreadful smiles 

At my lost brightness, my impassion' d wiles, 

Had waned from Olympus' solemn height, 

And from all serious Grods ; that our delight 

Was quite forgotten, save of us alone ! 



70 ENDYMION. 

Aud wherefore so ashamed ? 'Tis but to atone 
For endless pleasure, by some coward blushes : 
Yet must I be a coward ! Horror rushes 
Too palpable before me the sad look 
Of Jove Minerva's start no bosom shook 
With awe of purity no Cupid pinion 
In reverence veil'd my crystalline dominion 
Half lost, and all old hymns made nullity ! 
But what is this to love ? Oh ! I could fly 
With thee into the ken of heavenly powers, 
So thou wouldst thus, for many sequent hours, 
Press me so sweetly. Now I swear at once 
That I am wise, that Pallas is a dunce 
Perhaps her love like mine is but unknown 
Oh ! I do think that I have been alone 
In chastity ! yes, Pallas has been sighing, 
While every eye saw me my hair uptying 
With fingers cool as aspen leaves. Sweet love ! 
I was as vague as solitary dove, 
Nor knew that nests were built. Now a soft kiss- 
Ay, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss, 
An immortality of passion's thine : 
Ere long I will exalt thee to the shine 
Of heaven ambrosial ; and we will shade 
Ourselves whole summers by a river glade ; 
And I will tell thee stories of the sky, 
And breathe thee whispers of its minstrelsy. 
My happy love will overwing all bounds ! 
O let me melt into thee ! let the sounds 
Of our close voices marry at their birth ; 
Let us entwine hoveringly ! O dearth 
Of human words ! roughness of mortal speech ! 



ENDYMION. 71 

Lispings empyrean will I sometimes teach 

Thine honey'd tongue lute-breathings which I gasp 

To have thee understand, now while I clasp 

Thee thus, and weep for fondness I am pain'd, 

Endymion : woe ! woe ! is grief contain' d 

In the very deeps of pleasure, my sole life ? " 

Hereat, with many sobs, her gentle strife 

Melted into a languor. He return' d 

Entranced vows and tears. 

Te who have yearn' d 
With too much passion, will here stay and pity, 
Eor the mere sake of truth ; as 'tis a ditty 
Not of these days, but long ago 'twas told 
By a cavern wind unto a forest old ; 
And then the forest told it in a dream 
To a sleeping lake, whose cool and level gleam 
A poet caught as he was journeying 
To Phoebus' shrine ; and in it he did fling 
His weary limbs, bathing an hour's space, 
And after, straight in that inspired place 
He sang the story up into the air, 
Giving it universal freedom. There 
Has it been ever sounding for those ears 
AVhose tips are glowing hot. The legend cheers 
Ton sentinel stars ; and he who listens to it 
Must surely be self-doom'd or he will rue it : 
Eor quenchless burnings come upon the heart, 
Made fiercer by a fear lest any part 
Should be engulfed in the eddying wind. 
As much as here is penn'd doth always find 
A resting-place, thus much comes clear and plain ; 



72 ENDYMION. 

Anon the strange voice is upon the wane 
And 'tis but echoed from departing sound, 
That the fair visitant at last unwound 
Her gentle limbs, and left the youth asleep. - 
Thus the tradition of the gusty deep. 




Now turn we to our former chroniclers. 
Endymion awoke, that grief of hers 
Sweet paining on his ear : he sickly guess'd 
How lone he was once more, and sadly press' d 
His empty arms together, hung his head, 
And most forlorn upon that widow'd bed 
Sat silently. Love's madness he had known : 
Often with more than tortured lion's groan 
Moanings had burst from him ; but now that rage 



END YM ION. 73 

Had pass'd away : no longer did he wage 

A rough- voiced war against the dooming stars. 

No, he had felt too much for such harsh jars : 

The lyre of his soul ^Eolian tuned 

Forgot all violence, and but communed 

With melancholy thought : O he had swoon' d 

Drunken from pleasure's nipple ! and his love 

Henceforth was dove-like. Loth was he to move 

From the imprinted couch, and when he did, 

'Twas with slow, languid paces, and face hid 

In muffling hands. So temper'd, out he stray' d 

Half seeing visions that might have dismay' d 

Alecto's serpents ; ravishments more keen 

Than Hermes' pipe, when anxious he did lean 

Over eclipsing eyes : and at the last 

It was a sounding grotto, vaulted, vast, 

O'erstudded with a thousand, thousand pearls, 

And crimson-mouthed shells with stubborn curls, 

Of every shape and size, even to the bulk 

In which whales harbour close, to brood and sulk 

Against an endless storm. Moreover too, 

Fish-semblances, of green and azure hue, 

Ready to snort their streams. In this cool wonder 

Endymion sat down, and 'gan to ponder 

On all his life : his youth, up to the day 

When 'mid acclaim, and feasts, and garlands gay, 

He stepp'd upon his shepherd throne : the look 

Of his white palace in wild forest nook, 

And all the revels he had lorded there : 

Each tender maiden whom he once thought fair, 

With every friend and fellow-woodlander 

Pass'd like a dream before him. Then the spur 



74 ENDYMION. 

Of the old bards to mighty deeds : his plans 

To nurse the golden age 'mong shepherd clans : 

That wondrous night : the great Pan-festival : 

His sister's sorrow ; and his wanderings all, 

Until into the earth's deep maw he rush'd : 

Then all its buried magic, till it flush'd 

High with excessive love. "And now," thought he, 

" How long must I remain in jeopardy 

Of blank amazements that amaze no more ? 

Now I have tasted her sweet soul to the core, 

All other depths are shallow : essences, 

Once spiritual, are like muddy lees, 

Meant but to fertilise my earthly root, 

And make my branches lift a golden fruit 

Into the bloom of heaven ; other light, 

Though it be quick and sharp enough to blight 

The Olympian eagle's vision, is dark, 

Dark as the parentage of chaos. Hark ! 

My silent thoughts are echoing from these shells ; 

Or they are but the ghosts, the dying swells 

Of noises far away ? list ! " Hereupon 

He kept an anxious ear. The humming tone 

Came louder, and behold, there as he lay, 

On either side outgush'd, with misty spray, 

A copious spring ; and both together dash'd 

Swift, mad, fantastic round the rocks, and lasli'd 

Among the conchs and shells of the lofty grot, 

Leaving a trickling dew. At last they shot 

Down from the ceiling's height, pouring a HO&M 

A s of some breathless racers whose hopes poise 

Upon the last few steps, and with spent force 

Along the ground they took a winding course. 



ENDYMION. 



75 




Endymion follow'd for it seem'd that one 
Ever pursued, the other strove to shun 
Follow'd their languid mazes, till well nigh 
He had left thinking of the mystery, 
And was now rapt in tender hoverings 
Over the vanish'd bliss. Ah ! what is it sings 
His dream away ? What melodies are these ? 
They sound as through the whispering of trees, 
Not native in such barren vaults. Give ear ! 



76 ENDYMION. 

" O Arethusa, peerless nymph ! why fear 
Such tenderness as mine ? Great Dian, why, 
Why didst thou hear her prayer ? that I 
"Were rippling round her dainty fairness now, 
Circling about her waist, and striving how 
To entice her to a dive ! then stealing in 
Between her luscious lips and eyelids thin. 

that her shining hair was in the sun, 
And I distilling from it thence to run 

In amorous rillets down her shrinking form ! 

To linger on her lily shoulders, warm 

Between her kissing breasts, and every charm 

Touch raptured ! See how painfully I flow : 

Fair maid, be pitiful to my great woe. 

Stay, stay thy weary course, and let me lead, 

A happy wooer, to the flowery mead 

Where all that beauty snared me." " Cruel god, 

Desist ! or my offended mistress' nod 

Will stagnate all thy fountains : tease me not 

With syren words Ah, have I really got 

Such power to madden thee ? And is it true 

Away, away, or I shall dearly rue 

My very thoughts : in mercy then away, 

Kindest Alpheus, for should I obey 

My own dear will, 'twould be a deadly bane." 

" O, Oread-Queen ! would that thou hadst a pain 

Like this of mine, then would I fearless turn 

And be a criminal." " Alas, I burn, 

1 shudder gentle river, get thee hence. 
Alpheus ! thou enchanter ! every sense 

Of mine was once made perfect in these woods. 
Fresh breezes, bowery lawns, and innocent floods, 



ENDYMION. 77 

Eipe fruits, and lonely couch, contentment gave ; 

But ever since I heedlessly did lave 

In thy deceitful stream, a panting glow 

Grew strong within me : wherefore serve me so, 

And call it love ? Alas ! 'twas cruelty. 

Not once more did I close my happy eyes 

Amid the thrush's song. Away ! avaunt ! 

'twas a cruel thing." " Now thou dost taunt 
So softly, Arethusa, that I think 

If thou wast playing on my shady brink, 

Thou wouldst bathe once again. Innocent maid ! 

Stifle thine heart no more ; nor be afraid 

Of angry powers : there are deities 

Will shade us with their wings. Those fitful sighs 

'Tis almost death to hear : O let me pour 

A dewy balm upon them ! fear no more, 

Sweet Arethusa ! Dian's self must feel, 

Sometimes, these very pangs. Dear maiden, steal 

Blushing into my soul, and let us fly 

These dreary caverns for the open sky. 

1 will delight thee all my winding course, 
From the green sea up to my hidden source 
About Arcadian forests ; and will show 
The channels where my coolest waters flow 
Through mossy rocks ; where 'mid exuberant green, 
I roam in pleasant darkness, more unseen 

Than Saturn in his exile ; where I brim 

Bound flowery islands, and take thence a skim 

Of mealy sweets, which myriads of bees 

Buzz from their honey'd wings : and thou shouldst please 

Thyself to choose the richest, where we might 

Be incense-pillow'd every summer night. 



78 ENDYMION. 

Doff all sad fears, thou white deliciousness, 

And let us be thus comforted ; unless 

Thou couldst rejoice to see my hopeless stream 

Hurry distracted from Sol's temperate beam, 

And pour to death along some hungry sands." 

" What can I do, Alpheus ? Dian stands 

Severe before me : persecuting fate ! 

Unhappy Arethusa ! thou wast late 

A huntress free in " At this, sudden fell 

Those two sad streams adown a fearful dell. 

The Latmian listen'd, but he heard no more, 

Save echo, faint repeating o'er and o'er 

The name of Arethusa. On the verge 

Of that dark gulf he wept, and said : " I urge 

Thee, gentle Goddess of my pilgrimage, 

By our eternal hopes, to soothe, to assuage, 

If thou art powerful, these lovers' pains ; 

And make them happy in some happy plains." 

He turn'd there was a whelming sound he step!, 
There was a cooler light ; and so he kept 
Towards it by a sandy path, and lo ! 
More suddenly than doth a moment go, 
The visions of the earth were gone and fled 
He saw the giant sea above his head. 




BOOK III. 



BOOK III. 

- 

Theee are who lord it o'er their fellow-men 

With most prevailing tinsel : who unpen 

Their baaing vanities, to browse away 

The comfortable green and juicy hay 

From human pastures ; or, O torturing fact ! 

Who, through an idiot blink, will see unpack' d 

Fire-branded foxes to sear up and singe 

Our gold and ripe-ear' d hopes. With not one tinge 

Of sanctuary splendour, not a sight 

Able to face an owl's, they still are dight 

By the blear-eyed nations in empurpled vests, 

And crowns, and turbans. With unladen breasts, 

Save of blown self-applause, they proudly mount 

To their spirit's perch, their being's high account. 

Their tiptop nothings, their dull skies, their thrones- 

Amid the fierce intoxicating tones 

Of trumpets, shoutings, and belabour'd drums, 

And sudden cannon. Ah ! how all this hums, 

In wakeful ears, like uproar past and gone 

Like thunder-clouds that spake to Babylon, 



ENDYMION. 

And set those old Chaldeans to their tasks. 

Are then regalities all gilded masks ? 

No, there are throned seats unscalable 

But by a patient wing, a constant spell, 

Or by ethereal things that, unconfined, 

Can make a ladder of the eternal wind, 

And poise about in cloudy thunder-tents 

To watch the abysm-birth of elements. 

Ay, 'bove the withering of old-lipp'd Fate 

A thousand Powers keep religious state, 

In water, fiery realm, and airy bourne ; 

And, silent as a consecrated urn, 

Hold sphery sessions for a season due. 

Yet few of these far majesties, ah, few ! 

Have bared their operations to this globe 

Few, who with gorgeous pageantry enrobe 

Our piece of heaven whose benevolence 

Shakes hand with our own Ceres ; every sense 

Filling with spiritual sweets to plenitude, 

As bees gorge full their cells. And by the feud 

'Twixt Nothing and Creation, I here swear, 

Eterne Apollo ! that thy Sister fair 

Is of all these the gentlier-inightiest. 

When thy gold breath is misting in the west, 

She unobserved steals unto her throne, 

And there she sits most meek and most alone ; 

As if she had not pomp subservient; 

As if thine eye, high Poet ! was not bent 

Towards her with the Muses in thine heart ; 

As if the minist'ring stars kept not apart, 

Waiting for silver-footed messages. 

O Moon ! the oldest shades 'mong oldest trees 



ENDYMION. 83 

Feel palpitations when thou lookest in : 
O Moon ! old boughs lisp forth a holier din 
The while they feel thine airy fellowship. 
Thou dost bless everywhere, with silver lip 
Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine, 
Couch' d in thy brightness, dream of fields divine : 
Innumerable mountains rise, and rise, 
Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes ; 
And yet thy benediction passeth not 
One obscure hiding-place, one little spot 
Where pleasure may be sent : the nested wren 
Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken, 
And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf 
Takes glimpses of thee ; thou art a relief 
To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps 
Within its pearly house ; The mighty deeps, 
The monstrous sea is thine the myriad sea ! 
O Moon ! far spooming Ocean bows to thee, 
And Tellus feels her forehead's cumbrous load. 

Cynthia ! where art thou now ? What far abode 
Of green or silvery bower doth enshrine 
Such utmost beauty ? Alas, thou dost pine 
For one as sorrowful : thy cheek is pale 
For one whose cheek is pale : thou dost bewail 
His tears who weeps for thee ! Where dost thou sigh? 
Ah ! surely that light peeps from Vesper's eye, 
Or, what a thing is love ! 'Tis She, but lo ! 
How changed, how full of ache, how gone in woe ! 
She dies at the thinnest cloud ; her loveliness 
Is wan on Neptune's blue : yet there's a stress 
Of love-spangles, just off yon cape of trees, 



84 ENDYAIION. 

Dancing upon the waves, as if to please 

The curly foam with amorous influence. 

O, not so idle ! for down glancing thence, 

She fathoms eddies, and runs wild about 

Overwhelming water-courses ; scaring out 

The thorny sharks from hiding-holes, and fright'ning 

Their savage eyes with unaccustom'd lightning. 

Where will the splendour be content to reach ? 

O love ! how potent hast thou been to teach 

Strange journeyings ! Wherever beauty dwells, 

In gulf or aerie, mountains or deep dells, 

In light, in gloom, in star or blazing sun, 

Thou pointest out the way, and straight 'tis won. 

Amid his toil thou gavest Leander breath ; 

Thou leddest Orpheus through the gleams of death . 

Thou madest Pluto bear thin element : 

And now, O winged Chieftain ! thou hast sent 

A moonbeam to the deep, deep water-world, 

To find Endymion. 

On gold sand impearl'd 
With lily shells, and pebbles milky white, 
Poor Cynthia greeted him, and soothed her light 
Against his pallid face : he felt the charm 
To breathlessness, and suddenly a warm 
Of his heart's blood : 'twas very sweet ; he stay'd 
His wandering steps, and half-entranced laid 
His head upon a tuft of straggling weeds, 
To taste the gentle moon, and freshening beads, 
Lash'd from the crystal roof by fishes' tails. 
And so he kept, until the rosy veils 
Mantling the east, by Aurora's peering hand 



ENDYMION. 85 

Were lifted from the water's breast, and fann'd 
Into sweet air ; and sober'd morning came 
Meekly through billows : when like taper-flame 
Left sudden by a dallying breath of air, 
He rose in silence, and once more 'gan fare 
. Along his fated way. 

Far had he roam'd, 
With nothing save the hollow vast, that foam'd 
Above, around, and at his feet ; save things 
More dead than Morpheus' imaginings : 
Old rusted anchors, helmets, breastplates large 
Of gone sea- warriors ; brazen beaks and targe ; 
Eudders that for a hundred years had lost 
The sway of human hand ; gold vase emboss'd 
With long-forgotten story, and wherein 
No reveller had ever dipp'd a chin 
But those of Saturn's vintage ; mouldering scrolls, 
Writ in the tongue of heaven, by those souls 
Who first were on the earth ; and sculptures rude 
In ponderous stone, developing the mood 
Of ancient Nox ; then skeletons of man, 
Of beast, behemoth, and leviathan, 
And elephant, and eagle, and huge jaw 
Of nameless monster. A cold leaden awe 
These secrets struck into him ; and unless 
Dian had chased away that heaviness, 
He might have died : but now, with cheered feel, 
He onward kept ; wooing these thoughts to steal 
About the labyrinth in his soul of love. 

" What is there in thee, Moon ! that thou shouldst move 



! ENDYMION. 

My heart so potently ? When yet a child 

I oft have dried my tears when thou hast smiled. 

Thou seem'dst my sister: hand in hand we went 

From eve to morn across the firmament. 

No apples would I gather from the tree, 

Till thou hadst cool'd their cheeks deliciously : 

No tumbling water ever spake romance, 

But when my eyes with thine thereon could dance : 

No woods were green enough, no bower divine, 

Until thou liftedst up thine eyelids fine : 

In sowing-time ne'er would I dibble take, 

Or drop a seed, till thou wast wide awake ; 

And, in the summer-tide of blossoming, 

No one but thee hath heard me blithely sing 

And mesh my dewy flowers all the night. 

No melody was like a passing spright 

If it went not to solemnise thy reign. 

Yes, in my boyhood, every joy and pain 

By thee were fashion'd to the self-same end ; 

And as I grew in years, still didst thou blend 

With all my ardours : thou wast the deep glen ; 

Thou wast the mountain-top the sage's pen 

The poet's harp the voice of friends the sun; 

Thou wast the river thou wast glory won ; 

Thou wast my clarion's blast thou wast my steed- 

My goblet full of wine my topmost deed : 

Thou wast the charm of women, lovely Moon ! 

O what a wild and harmonised tune 

My spirit struck from all the beautiful ! 

On some bright essence could I lean, and lull 

Myself to immortality : I prest 

Nature's soft pillow in a wakeful rest. 



ENDYMION. 87 

But, gentle Orb ! there came a nearer bliss 

My strange love came Felicity's abyss ! 

She came, and thou didst fade, and fade away 

Yet not entirely ; no, thy starry sway 

Has been an under-passion to this hour. 

Now I begin to feel thine orby power 

Is coming fresh upon me: be kind ! 

Keep back thine influence, and do not blind 

My sovereign vision. Dearest love, forgive 

That I can think away from thee and live ! 

Pardon me, airy planet, that I prize 

One thought beyond thine argent luxuries ! 

How far beyond ! " At this a surprised start 

Frosted the springing verdure of his heart ; 

For as he lifted up his eyes to swear 

How his own goddess was past all things fair, 

He saw far in the concave green of the sea 

An old man sitting calm and peacefully. 

Upon a weeded rock this old man sat, 

And his white hair was awful, and a mat 

Of weeds were cold beneath his cold thin feet ; 

And, ample as the largest winding-sheet, 

A cloak of blue wrapp'd up his aged bones, 

O'erwrought with symbols by the deepest groans 

Of ambitious magic : every ocean-form 

Was woven in with black distinctness ; storm, 

And calm, and whispering, and hideous roar 

Were emblem'd in the woof; with every shape 

That skims, or dives, or sleeps, 'twixt cape and cape. 

The gulphing whale was like a dot in the spell, 

Yet look upon it, and 'twould size and swell 

To its huge self; and the minutest fish 



83 ENDYMION. 

Would pass the very hardest gazer's wish, 

And show his little eye's anatomy. 

Then there was pictured the regality 

Of Neptune ; and the sea-nymphs round his state, 

In beauteous vassalage, look up and wait. 

Beside this old man lay a pearly wand, 

And in his lap a book, the which he conn'd 

So steadfastly, that the new denizen 

Had time to keep him in amazed ken, 

To mark these shadowings, and stand in awe. 

The old man raised his hoary head and saw 
The wilder 1 d stranger seeming not to see, 
His features were so lifeless. Suddenly 
He woke as from a trance ; his snow-white brows 
Went arching up, and like two magic ploughs 
Furrow'd deep wrinkles in his forehead large, 
Which kept as fixedly as rocky marge, 
Till round his wither'd lips had gone a smile. 
Then up he rose, like one whose tedious toil 
Had watch'd for years in forlorn hermitage, 
Who had not from mid-life to utmost age 
Eased in one accent his o'erburden'd soul, 
Even to the trees. He rose : lie grasp'd his stole, 
With convulsed clenches waving it abroad, 
And in a voice of solemn joy, that awed 
Echo into oblivion, he said: 

" Thou art the man ! Now shall I lay my head 
In peace upon my watery pillow : now 
Sleep will come smoothly to my weary brow. 
Jove ! I shall be young again, be young ! 



ENDYMION. 89 

shell-borne Neptune, I am pierced and stung 
With new-born life ! What shall I do ? Where go, 
When I have cast this serpent-skin of woe ? 

I'll swim to the syrens, and one moment listen 

Their melodies, and see their long hair glisten ; 

Anon upon that giant's arm I'll be, 

That writhes about the roots of Sicily : 

To northern seas I'll in a twinkling sail, 

And mount upon the snortings of a whale 

To some black cloud ; thence down I'll madly sweep 

On forked lightning, to the deepest deep, 

Where through some sucking pool I will be hurl'd 

With rapture to the other side of the world ! 

O, I am full of gladness ! Sisters three, 

1 bow full-hearted to your old decree ! 

Yes, every god be thank' d, and power benign, 

For I no more shall wither, droop, and pine. 

Thou art the man ! " Endymion started back 

Dismay'd ; and like a wretch from whom the rack 

Tortures hot breath, and speech of agony, 

Mutter' d : " What lonely death am I to die 

In this cold region ? Will he let me freeze, 

And float my brittle limbs o'er polar seas ? 

Or will he touch me with his searing hand, 

And leave a black memorial on the sand ? 

Or tear me piecemeal with a bony saw, 

And keep me as a chosen food to draw 

His magian fish through hated fire and flame ? 

misery of hell ! resistless, tame, 

Am I to be burn'd up ? No, I will shout, 

Until the gods through heaven's blue look out ! 

O Tartarus ! but some few days agone 



90 ENDYMION. 

Her soft arms were entwining me, and on 

Her voice I hung like fruit among green leaves : 

Her lips were all my own, and ah, ripe sheaves 

Of happiness ! ye on the stubble droop, 

But never may be garner'd. I must stoop 

My head, and kiss death's foot. Love ! love, farewell ! 

Is there no hope from thee ? This horrid spell 

"Would melt at thy sweet breath. By Dian's hind 

Feeding from her white fingers, on the wind 

I see thy streaming hair ! and now, by Pan, 

I care not for this old mysterious man ! " 

He spake, and walking to that aged form, 
Look'd high defiance. Lo ! his heart 'gan warm 
With pity, for the grey-hair' d creature wept. 
Had he then wrong' d a heart where sorrow kept ? 
Had he, though blindly contumelious, brought 
Bheum to kind eyes, a sting to human thought, 
Convulsion to a mouth of many years ? 
He had in truth ; and he was ripe for tears. 
The penitent shower fell, as down he knelt 
Before that care-worn sage, who trembling felt 
About his large dark locks, and faltering spake : 

" Arise, good youth, for sacred Phoebus' sake ! 
I know thine inmost bosom, and I feel 
A very brother's yearning for thee steal 
Into mine own : for why ? thou openest 
The prison-gates that have so long oppress' d 
My weary watching. Though thou know'st it not, 
Thou art commission' d to this fated spot 
For great enfranchisement. O weep no more ! 



ENDYMION. 91 

I am a friend to love, to loves of yore : 

Ay, hadst thou never loved an unknown power, 

I had been grieving at this joyous hour. 

But even now, most miserable old, 

I saw thee, and my blood no longer cold 

Gave mighty pulses : in this tottering case 

Grew a new heart, which at this moment plays 

As dancingly as thine. Be not afraid, 

For thou shalt hear this secret all display' d, 

Now as we speed towards our joyous task." 

So saying, this young soul in age's mask 
Went forward with the Carian side by side : 
Besoming quickly thus ; while ocean's tide 
Hung swollen at their backs, and jewell'd sands 
Took silently their foot-prints. 

" My soul stands 
Now past the midway from mortality, 
And so I can prepare without a sigh 
To tell thee briefly all my joy and pain. 
I was a fisher once, upon this main, 
And my boat danced in every creek and bay ; 
Eough billows were my home by night and day, 
The sea-gulls not more constant ; for I had 
No housing from the storm and tempests mad, 
But hollow rocks, and they were palaces 
Of silent happiness, of slumberous ease : 
Long years of misery have told me so. 
Ay, thus it was one thousand years ago. 
One thousand years ! Is it then possible 
To look so plainly through them ? to dispel 



92 ENDYMION. 

A thousand years with backward glance sublime ? 
To breathe away as 'twere all scummy slime 
From off a crystal pool, to see its deep, 
And one's own image from the bottom peep ? 
Yes : now I am no longer wretched thrall, 
My long captivity and moanings all 
Are but a slime, a thin-pervading scum, 
The which I breathe away, and thronging come 
Like things of yesterday my youthful pleasures. 

" I touch'd no lute, I sang not, trod no measures 
I was a lonely youth on desert shores. 
My sports were lonely, 'mid continuous roars, 
And craggy isles, and seamews' plaintive cry 
Plaining discrepant between sea and sky. 
Dolphins were still my playmates ; shapes unseen 
Would let me feel their scales of gold and green, 
Nor be my desolation ; and, full oft, 
"When a dread waterspout had rear'd aloft 
Its hungry hugeness, seeming ready ripe 
To burst with hoarsest thunderings, and wipe 
My life away like a vast sponge of fate, 
Some friendly monster, pitying my sad state, 
Has dived to its foundations, gulf'd it down, 
And left me tossing safely. But the crown 
Of all my life was utmost quietude : 
More did I love to lie in cavern rude, 
Keeping in wait whole days for Neptune's voice, 
And if it came at last, hark, and rejoice ! 
There blush' d no summer eve but I would steer 
My skiff along green shelving coasts, to hear 
The shepherd's pipe come clear from aery steep, 



ENDYMION. 93 

Mingled with ceaseless bleatings of his sheep : 
And never was a day of summer shine, 
But I beheld its birth upon the brine : 
For I would watch all night to see unfold 
Heaven's gates, and iEthon snort his morning gold 
Wide o'er the swelling streams : and constantly 
At brim of day-tide, on some grassy lea, 
My nets would be spread out, and I at rest. 
The poor folk of the sea-country I blest 
"With daily boon of fish most delicate : 
They knew not whence this bounty, and elate 
Would strew sweet flowers on a sterile beach. 

" Why was I not contented ? Wherefore reach 
At things which, but for thee, Latmian ! 
Had been my dreary death ! Fool ! I began 
To feel distemper' d longings : to desire 
The utmost privilege that ocean's sire 
Could grant in benediction : to be free 
Of all his kingdom. Long in misery 
I wasted, ere in one extremest fit 
I plunged'for life or death. To interknit 
One's senses with so dense a breathing stuff 
Might seem a work of pain ; so not enough 
Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt, 
And buoyant round my limbs. At first I dwelt 
Whole days and days in sheer astonishment ; 
Forgetful utterly of self-intent ; 
Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow. 
Then, like a new-fledged bird that first doth show 
His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill, 
I tried in fear the pinions of my will. 



94 ENDYMION. 

'Twas freedom ! and at once I visited 

The ceaseless wonders of this ocean-bed. 

No need to tell thee of them, for I see 

That thou hast been a witness it must be 

For these I know thou canst not feel a drouth, 

By the melancholy corners of that mouth. 

So I will in my story straightway pass 

To more immediate matter. Woe, alas ! 

That love should be my bane ! Ah, Scylla fair ! 

"Why did poor Glaucus ever ever dare 

To sue thee to his heart ? Kind stranger-youth ! 

I loved her to the very white of truth, 

And she would not conceive it. Timid thing ! 

She fled me swift as sea-bird on the wing, 

Bound every isle, and point, and promontory, 

From where large Hercules wound up his story 

Far as Egyptian Nile. My passion grew 

The more, the more I saw her dainty hue 

Gleam delicately through the azure clear : 

Until 'twas too fierce agony to bear ; 

And in that agony, across my grief 

It flash'd, that Circe might find some relief* 

Cruel enchantress ! So above the water 

I rear'd my head, and look'd for Phoebus' daughter. 

JEsea's isle was wondering at the moon : 

It seem'd to whirl around me, and a swoon 

Left me dead-drifting to that fatal power. 

" "When I awoke, 'twas in a twilight bower ; 
Just when the light of morn, with hum of bees, 
Stole through its verdurous matting of fresh trees. 
How sweet, and sweeter ! for I heard a lyre, 



ENDYMION. 95 

And over it a sighing voice expire. 
It ceased I caught light footsteps ; and anon 
The fairest face that morn e'er look'd upon 
Push'd through a screen of roses. Starry Jove ! 
With tears, and smiles, and honey-words she wove 
A net whose thraldom was more bliss than all 
The range of flower' d Elysium. Thus did fall 
The dew of her rich speech : ' Ah ! art awake ? 

let me hear thee speak, for Cupid's sake ! 

1 am so oppress' d with joy ! Why, I have shed 
An urn of tears, as though thou wert cold dead ; 
And now I find thee living, I will pour 

From these devoted eyes their silver store, 

Until exhausted of the latest drop, 

So it will pleasure thee, and force thee stop 

Here, that I too may live : but if beyond 

Such cool and sorrowful offerings, thou art fond 

Of soothing warmth, of dalliance supreme ; 

If thou art ripe to taste a long love-dream ; 

If smiles, if dimples, tongues for ardour mute, 

Hang in thy vision like a tempting fruit, 

O let me pluck it for thee ! ' Thus she link'd 

Her charming syllables, till indistinct 

Their music came to my o'er-sweeten'd soul ; 

And then she hover'd over me, and stole 

So near, that if no nearer it had been 

This furrow'd visage thou hadst never seen. 

" Young man of Latmos ! thus particular 
Am I, that thou may'st plainly see how far 
This fierce temptation went : and thou may'st not 
Exclaim, How, then, was Scylla quite forgot ? 



5 ENDYMION. 

" Who could resist ? "Who in this universe ? 
She did so breathe ambrosia ; so immerse 
My fine existence in a golden clime. 
She took me like a child of suckling time, 
And cradled me in roses. Thus condemn'd, 
The current of my former life was stemm'd, 
And to this arbitrary queen of sense 
I bow'd a tranced vassal : nor would thence 
Have moved, even though Amphion's harp had woo'd 
Me back to Scylla o'er the billows rude. 
For as Apollo each eve doth devise 
A new apparelling for western skies ; 
So every eve, nay, every spendthrift hour 
Shed balmy consciousness within that bower. 
And I was free of haunts umbrageous ; 
Could wander in the mazy forest-house 
Of squirrels, foxes shy, and antler' d deer, 
And birds from coverts innermost and drear 
Warbling for very joy mellifluous sorrow 
To me new-born delights ! 

" Now let me borrow, 
For moments few, a temperament as stern 
As Pluto's sceptre, that my words not burn 
These uttering lips, while I in calm speech tell 
How specious heaven was changed to real hell. 

" One morn she left me sleeping : half awake 
I sought for her smooth arms and lips, to slake 
My greedy thirst with nectarous camel-draughts ; 
But she was gone. Whereat the barbed shafts 
Of disappointment stuck in me so sore, 



ENDYMION. 97 

That out I rau and search'd the forest o'er. 

Wandering about in pine and cedar gloom 

Damp awe assail' d me, for there 'gan to boom 

A sound of moan, an agony, of sound, 

Sepulchral from the distance all around. 

Then came a conquering earth-thunder, and rumbled 

That fierce complain to silence : while I stumbled 

Down a precipitous path, as if impell'd. 

I came to a dark valley. Grroanings swell'd 

Poisonous about my ears, and louder grew, 

The nearer I approach' d a flame's gaunt blue, 

That glared before me through a thorny brake. 

This fire, like the eye of gordian snake, 

Bewitch'd me towards ; and I soon was near 

A sight too fearful for the feel of fear : 

In thicket hid I cursed the haggard scene 

The banquet of my arms, my arbour queen, 

Seated upon an uptorn forest root ; 

And all around her shapes, wizard and brute, 

Laughing, and wailing, grovelling, serpenting, 

Showing tooth, tusk, and venom-bag, and sting. 

O such deformities ! old Charon's self, 

Should he give up awhile his penny pelf, 

And take a dream 'mong rushes Stygian, 

It could not be so fantasied. Fierce, wan, 

And tyrannising was the lady's look, 

As over them a gnarled staff she shook. 

Oft-times upon the sudden she laugh' d out, 

And from a basket emptied to the rout 

Clusters of grapes, the which they raven' d quick 

And roar'd for more ; with many a hungry lick 

About their shaggy jaws. Avenging, slow, 



98 ENDYMION. 

Anon she took a branch of mistletoe, 

And emptied on 't a black dull-gurgling phial : 

Groan' d one and all, as if some piercing trial 

Was sharpening for their pitiable bones. 

She lifted up the charm : appealing groans 

Prom their poor breasts went suing to her ear 

In vain ; remorseless as an infant's bier 

She whisk'd against their eyes the sooty oil. 

Whereat was heard a noise of painful toil, 

Increasing gradual to a tempest rage, 

Shrieks, yells, and groans of torture-pilgrimage ; 

Until their grieved bodies 'gan to bloat 

And puff from the tail's end to stifled throat : 

Then was appalling silence : then a sight 

More wildering than all that hoarse affright ; 

For the whole herd, as by a whirlwind writhen, 

Went through the dismal air like one huge Python 

Antagonising Boreas, and so vanish' d, 

Tet there was not a breath of wind : she banish'd 

These phantoms with a nod. Lo ! from the dark 

Came waggish fauns, and nymphs, and satyrs stark, 

With dancing and loud revelry, and went 

Swifter than centaurs after rapine bent. 

Sighing an elephant appear'd and bow'd 

Before the fierce witch, speaking thus aloud 

In human accent : ' Potent goddess ! chief 

Of pains resistless ! make my being brief, 

Or let me from this heavy prison fly : 

Or give me to the air, or let me die! 

I sue not for my happy crown again ; 

I sue not for my phalanx on the plain ; 

I sue not for my lone, my widow'd wife : 



ENDYMION. 99 

I sue not for my ruddy drops of life, 

My children fair, my lovely girls and boys ! 

I will forget them ; I will pass these joys ; 

Ask nought so heavenward, so too too high : 

Only I pray, as fairest boon, to die, 

Or be deliver'd from this cumbrous flesh, 

From this gross, detestable, filthy mesh, 

And merely given to the cold bleak air. 

Have mercy, Goddess ! Circe, feel my prayer ! ' 

" That curst magician's name fell icy numb 
Upon my wild conjecturing : truth had come 
Naked and sabre-like against my heart. 
I saw a fury whetting a death-dart ; 
And my slain spirit, overwrought with fright, 
Painted away in that dark lair of night. 
Think, my deliverer, how desolate 
My waking must have been ! disgust and hate, 
And terrors manifold divided me 
A spoil amongst them. I prepared to flee 
Into the dungeon core of that wild wood : 
I fled three days when lo ! before me stood 
Glaring the angry witch. Dis, even now, 
A clammy dew is beading on my brow, . 
At mere remembering her pale laugh, and curse. 
1 Ha ! ha ! Sir Dainty ! there must be a nurse 
Made of rose-leaves and thistle-down, express, 
To cradle thee, my sweet, and lull thee : yes, 
I am too flinty-hard for thy nice touch : 
My tenderest squeeze is but a giant's clutch. 
So, fairy-thing, it shall have lullabies 
Unheard of yet ; and it shall still its cries 



100 ENDYMION. 

Upon some breast more lily-feminine. 

Oh, no it shall not pine, and pine, and pine 

More than one pretty, trifling thousand years ; 

And then 'twere pity, but fate's gentle shears 

Cut short its immortality. Sea-flirt ! 

Young dove of the waters ! truly I'll not hurt 

One hair of thine : see how I weep and sigh, 

That our heart-broken parting is so nigh. 

And must we part ? Ah, yes, it must be so. 

Tet ere thou leavest me in utter woe, 

Let me sob over thee my last adieus, 

And speak a blessing : Mark me ! thou hast thews 

Immortal, for thou art of heavenly race : 

But such a love is mine, that here I chase 

Eternally away from thee all bloom 

Of youth, and destine thee towards a tomb. 

Hence shalt thou quickly to the watery vast ; 

And there, ere many days be overpast, 

Disabled age shall seize thee ; and even then 

Thou shalt not go the way of aged men ; 

But live and wither, cripple and still breathe 

Ten hundred years : which gone, I then bequeath 

Thy fragile bones to unknown burial. 

Adieu, sweet love, adieu ! ' As shot stars fall, 

She fled ere I could groan for mercy. Stung 

And poison' d was my spirit : despair sung 

A war-song of defiance 'gainst all hell. 

A hand was at my shoulder to compel 

My sullen steps ; another 'fore my eyes 

Moved on with pointed finger. In tin's guise 

Enforced, at the last by ocean's foam 

I found me ; by my fresh, my native home, 



ENDYMION. 101 

Its tempering coolness, to my life akin, 

Came salutary as I waded in ; 

And, with a blind voluptuous rage, I gave 

Battle to the swollen billow-ridge, and drave 

Large froth before me, while there yet remain'd 

Hale strength, nor from my bones all marrow drain' d. 

" Young lover, I must weep such hellish spite 
"With dry cheek who can tell ? While thus my might 
Proving upon this element, dismay' d, 
Upon a dead thing's face my hand I laid ; 
I look'd 'twas Scylla ! Cursed, cursed Circe ! 

vulture-witch, hast never heard of mercy ! 
Could not thy harshest vengeance be content, 
But thou must nip this tender innocent 
Because I loved her? Cold, O cold indeed 
Were her fair limbs, and like a common weed 
The sea-swell took her hair. Dead as she was 

1 clung about her waist, nor ceased to pass 
Fleet as an arrow through unfathom'd brine, 
Until there shone a fabric crystalline, 
Eibb'd and inlaid with coral, pebble, and pearl. 
Headlong I darted ; at one eager swirl 
Gain'd its bright portal, enter'd, and behold ! 
'Twas vast, and desolate, and icy-cold ; 

And all around But wherefore this to thee 
Who in few minutes more thyself shalt see ? 
I left poor Scylla in a niche and fled. 
My fever' d parchings up, my scathing dread 
Met palsy half way : soon these limbs became 
Gaunt, wither' d, sapless, feeble, cramp'd, and lame. 



102 ENDYMION. 

" Now let me pass a cruel, cruel space, 
Without one hope, without oue faintest trace 
Of mitigation, or redeeming bubble 
Of colour'd phantasy ; for I fear 'twould trouble 
Thy brain to loss of reason : and next tell 
How a restoring chance came down to quell 
One half of the witch in me. 

" On a day, 

Sitting upon a rock above the spray, 

I saw grow up from the horizon's brink 

A gallant vessel : soon she seem'd to sink 

Away from me again, as though her course 

Had been resumed in spite of hindering force 

So vanish' d : and not long, before arose 

Dark clouds, and muttering of winds morose. 

Old iEolus would stifle his mad spleen, 

But could not, therefore, all the billows green 

Toss'd up the silver spume against the clouds. 

The tempest came : I saw that vessel's shrouds 

In perilous bustle ; while upon the deck 

Stood trembling creatures. I beheld the wreck ; 

The final gulfing ; the poor struggling souls ; 

I heard their cries amid loud thunder-rolls. 

O they had all been saved but crazed eld 

Annull'd my vigorous cravings : and thus quell'd 

And curb'd, think on 't, O Latmian ! did I sit 

Writhing with pity, and a cursing fit 

Against that hell-born Circe. The crew had gone, 

By one and one, to pale oblivion ; 

And I was gazing on the surges prone, 

With many a scalding tear, and many a groan, 



ENDYMION. 103 

When at my feet emerged an old man's hand, 

Grasping this scroll, and this same slender wand. 

I knelt with pain reach' d out my hand had grasp' d 

These treasures touch' d the knuckles they unclasp' d 

I caught a finger : but the downward weight 

O'erpower'd me it sank. Then 'gan abate 

The storm, and through chill aguish gloom outburst 

The comfortable suu. I was athirst 

To search the book, and in the warming air 

Parted its dripping leaves with eager care. 

Strange matters did it treat of, and drew on 

My soul page after page, till well nigh won 

Into forgetfulness ; when, stupified, 

I read these words, and read again, and tried 

My eyes against the heavens, and read again. 

O what a load of misery and pain 

Each Atlas-line bore off ! a shine of hope 

Came gold around me, cheering me to cope 

Strenuous with hellish tyranny. Attend ! 

For thou hast brought their promise to an end. 

" ' In the wide sea there lives a forlorn wretch, 
Doom'd with enfeebled carcase to outstretch 
His loathed existence through ten centuries, 
And then to die alone. "Who can devise 
A total opposition ? JSTo one. So 
One million times ocean must ebb and flow, 
And he oppressed. Yet he shall not die, 
These things accomplish'd : If he utterly 
Scans all the depths of magic, and expounds 
The meanings of all motions, shapes, and sounds ; 
If he explores all forms and substances 



104 KNDYMION. 

Straight homeward to their symbol-essences ; 
He shall not die. Moreover, and in chief, 
He must pursue this task of joy and grief 
Most piously ; all lovers tempest-tost, 
And in the savage overwhelming lost, 
He shall deposit side by side, until 
Time's creeping shall the dreary space fulfil : 
Which done, and all these labours ripened, 
A youth, by heavenly power loved and led, 
Shall stand before him ; whom he shall direct 
How to consummate all. The youth elect 
Must do the thing, or both will be destroy'd.' " 

"Then," cried the young Endymion, overjoy'd, 
" We are twin brothers in this destiny ! 
Say, I entreat thee, what achievement high 
Is, in this restless world, for me reserved. 
What ! if from thee my wandering feet had swerved, 
Had we both perish'd ? " " Look ! " the sage replied, 
" Dost thou not mark a gleaming through the tide, 
Of divers brilliances ? 'tis the edifice 
I told thee of, where lovely Scylla lies ; 
And where I have enshrined piously 
All lovers, whom fell storms have doom'd to die 
Throughout my bondage." Thus discoursing, on 
They went till unobscured the porches shone ; 
Which hurryingly they gain'd, and enter'd straight. 
Sure never since king Neptune held his state 
Was seen such wonder underneath the stars. 
Turn to some level plain where haughty Mars 
Has legion'd all his battle ; and behold 
How every soldier, with firm foot, doth hold 



ENDYMION. 105 

His even breast : see, many steeled squares, 

And rigid ranks of iron whence who dares 

One step ? Imagine further, line by line, 

These warrior thousands on the field supine : 

So in that crystal place, in silent rows, 

Poor lovers lay at rest from joys and woes. 

The strauger from the mountains, breathless, traced 

Such thousands of shut eyes in order placed ; 

Such ranges of white feet, and patient lips 

All ruddy, for here death no blossom nips. 

He mark'd their brows and foreheads ; saw their hair 

Put sleekly on one side with nicest care ; 

And each one's gentle wrists, with reverence, 

Put cross-wise to its heart. 

" Let us commence 
(Whisper'd the guide, stuttering with joy) even now." 
He spake, and, trembling like an aspen-bough, 
Began to tear his scroll in pieces small, 
Uttering the while some mumblings funeral. 
He tore it into pieces small as snow 
That drifts unfeather'd when bleak northerns blow ; 
And having done it, took his dark blue cloak 
And bound it round Endymion : then struck 
His wand against the empty air times nine. 
" What more there is to do, young man, is thine : 
But first a little patience ; first undo 
This tangled thread, and wind it to a clue. 
Ah, gentle ! 'tis as weak as spider's skein ; 
And shouldst thou break it "What, is it done so clean ? 
A power overshadows thee ! Oh, brave ! 
The spite of hell is tumbling to its grave. 



106 ENDYMION. 

Here is a shell ; 'tis pearly blank to me, 
Nor mark'd with any sign or charactery 
Canst thou read aught ? O read for pity's sake ! 
Olympus ! we are safe ! Now, Carian, break 
This wand against yon lyre on the pedestal." 

'Twas done : and straight with sudden swell and fall 
Sweet music breathed her soul away, and sigh'd 
A lullaby to silence. " Youth ! now strew 
These minced leaves on me, and passing through 
Those files of dead, scatter the same around, 
And thou wilt see the issue." 'Mid the sound 
Of flutes and viols, ravishing his heart, 
Endymion from Grlaucus stood apart, 
And scatter'd in his face some fragments light. 
How lightning-swift the change ! a youthful wight 
Smiling beneath a coral diadem, 
Out-sparkling sudden like an upturn' d gem, 
Appear'd, and, stepping to a beauteous corse, 
Kneel'd down beside it, and with tenderest force 
Press'd its cold hand, and wept and Scylla sigh'd ! 
Endymion, with quick hand, the charm applied 
The nymph arose : he left them to their joy, 
And onw r ard went upon his high employ, 
Showering those powerful fragments on the dead, 
And, as he pass'd, each lifted up its head, 
As doth a flower at Apollo's touch. 
Death felt it to his inwards ; 'twas too much : 
Death fell a-weeping in his charnel-house. 
The Latmian persevered along, and thus 
All were reanimated. There arose 
A noise of harmony, pulses and throes 



ENDYMION. 107 

Of gladness in the air while many, who 

Had died in mutual arms devout and true, 

Sprang to each other madly ; and the rest 

Felt a high certainty of being blest. 

They gazed upon Endymion. Enchantment 

Grew drunken, and would have its head and bent. 

Delicious symphonies, like airy flowers, 

Budded, and swell' d, and, full-blown, shed full showers 

Of light, soft, unseen leaves of sounds divine. 

The two deliverers tasted a pure wine 

Of happiness, from fairy press oozed out. 

Speechless they eyed each other, and about 

The fair assembly wander' d to and fro, 

Distracted with the richest overflow 

Of joy that ever pour'd from heaven. 

" Away ! " 

Shouted the new-born god ; " Follow, and pay 

Our piety to Neptunus supreme ! " 

Then Scylla, blushing sweetly from her dream, 

They led on first, bent to her meek surprise, 

Through portal columns of a giant size 

Into the vaulted, boundless emerald. 

Joyous all follow' d, as the leader call'd, 

Down marble steps ; pouring as easily 

As hour-glass sand and fast, as you might see 

Swallows obeying the south summer's call, 

Or sw r ans upon a gentle waterfall. 

Thus went that beautiful multitude, nor far, 
Ere from among some rocks of glittering spar, 
Just within ken, they saw descending thick 



108 



ENDYMION. 




Another multitude. Whereat more quick 

Moved either host. On a wide sand they met, 

And of those numbers every eye was wet ; 

For each their old love found. A murmuring rose 

Like what was never heard in all the throes 

Of wind and waters : 'tis past human wit 

To tell ; 'tis dizziness to think of it. 



This mighty consummation made, the host 
Moved on for many a league ; and gain'd and lost 
Huge sea-marks ; vanward swelling in array, 
And from the rear diminishing away, 



ENDYMION. 109 

Till a faint dawn surprised them. Grlaucus cried, 

" Behold ! behold, the palace of his pride ! 

God Neptune's palaces." With noise increased, 

They shoulder'd on towards that brightening east. 

At every onward step proud domes arose 

In prospect, diamond gleams and golden glows 

Of amber 'gainst their faces levelling. 

Joyous, and many as the leaves in spring, 

Still onward ; still the splendour gradual swell' d. 

Rich opal domes were seen, on high upheld 

By jasper pillars, letting through their shafts 

A blush of coral. Copious wonder-draughts 

Each gazer drank ; and deeper drank more near : 

For what poor mortals fragment up, as mere 

As marble was there lavish, to the vast 

Of one fair palace, that far, far surpass'd, 

Even for common bulk, those olden three, 

Memphis, and Babylon, and Nineveh. 

As large, as bright, as colour'd as the bow 
Of Iris, when unfading it doth show 
Beyond a silvery shower, was the arch 
Through which this Paphian army took its march, 
Into the outer courts of Neptune's state : 
Whence could be seen, direct, a golden gate, 
To which the leaders sped ; but not half raught 
Ere it burst open swift as fairy thought, 
And made those dazzled thousands veil their eyes 
Like callow eagles at the first sunrise. 
Soon with an eagle nativeness their gaze 
Ripe from hue-golden swoons took all the blaze, 
And then, behold ! large Neptune on his throne 



110 ENDYMION. 

Of emerald deep : yet not exalt alone ; 

At his right hand stood winged Love, and on 

His left sat smiling Beauty's paragon. 

Far as the mariner on highest mast 
Can see all round upon the calmed vast, 
So wide was Neptune's hall : and as the blue 
Doth vault the waters, so the waters drew 
Their doming curtains, high, magnificent, 
Awed from the throne aloof; and when storm-rent 
Disclosed the thunder-gloomings in Jove's air ; 
But soothed as now, flash'd sudden everywhere, 
Noiseless, sub-marine cloudlets, glittering 
Death to a human eye : for there did spring 
From natural west, and east, and south, and north, 
A light as of four sunsets, blazing forth 
A gold-green zenith 'bove the Sea-God's head. 
Of lucid depth the floor, and far outspread 
As breezeless lake, on which the slim canoe 
Of feather' d Indian darts about, as through 
The delicatest air : air verily, 
But for the portraiture of clouds and sky : 
This palace floor breath-air, but for the amaze 
Of deep-seen wonders motionless, and blaze 
Of the dome pomp, reflected in extremes, 
Globing a golden sphere. 

They stood in dreams 
Till Triton blew his horn. The palace rang ; 
The Nereids danced ; the Syrens faintly sang ; 
And the great Sea-King bow'd his dripping head. 
Then Love took wing, and from his pinions shed 



ENDYMION. Ill 

On all the multitude a nectarous dew. 

The ooze-born Goddess beckoned and drew 

Fair Scylla and her guides to conference ; 

And when they reach' d the throned eminence 

She kiss'd the sea-nymph's cheek, who sat her down 

A toying witli the doves. Then, " Mighty crown 

And sceptre of this kingdom ! " Venus said, 

" Thy vows were on a time to Nais paid : 

Behold! " Two copious tear-drops instant fell 

From the God's large eyes ; he smiled delectable, 

And over Glaucus held his blessing hands. 

" Endymion ! Ah ! still wandering in the bands 

Of love ? Now this is cruel. Since the hour 

I met thee in earth's bosom, all my power 

Have I put forth to serve thee. What, not yet 

Escaped from dull mortality's harsh net ? 

A little patience, youth ! 'twill not be long, 

Or I am skilless quite : an idle tongue, 

A humid eye, and steps luxurious, 

Where these are new and strange, are ominous. 

Ay, 1 have seen these signs in one of heaven, 

When others were all blind ; and were I given 

To utter secrets, haply I might say 

Some pleasant words : but Love will have his day. 

So wait awhile expectant. Pr'ythee soon, 

Even in the passing of thine honey-moon, 

Visit my Cytherea : thou wilt find 

Cupid well-natured, my Adonis kind ; 

And pray persuade with thee Ah, I have done, 

All blisses be upon thee, my sweet son ! " 

Thus the fair Goddess : while Endymion 

Knelt to receive those accents halcvon. 



112 ENDYMION. 

Meantime a glorious revelry began 
Before the Water-Monarch. Nectar ran 
In courteous fountains to all cups outreach'd ; 
And plunder'd vines, teeming exhaustless, pleach'd 
New growth about each shell and pendent lyre ; 
The which, in entangling for their fire, 
Pull'd down fresh foliage and coverture 
For dainty toy. Cupid, empire-sure, 
Flutter' d and laugh'd, and oft-times through the throng 
Made a delighted way. Then dance, and song, 
And garlanding, grew wild ; and pleasure reign' d. 
In harmless tendril they each other chain' d, 
And strove who should be smother' d deepest in 
Fresh crush of leaves. 

O 'tis a very sin 
For one so weak to venture his poor verse 
In such a place as this. O do not curse, 
High Muses ! let him hurry to the ending. 

All suddenly were silent. A soft blending 
Of dulcet instruments came charmingly ; 
And then a hymn. 

" King of the stormy sea ! 
Brother of Jove, and co-inheritor 
Of elements ! Eternally before 
Thee the waves awful bow. Fast, stubborn rock, 
At thy fear'd trident shrinking, doth unlock 
Its deep foundations, hissing into foam. 
All mountain-rivers lost, in the wide home 
Of thy capacious bosom ever flow. 



ENDYMION. 113 

Thou frownest, and old JEolus thy foe 

Skulks to his cavern, 'mid the gruff complaint 

Of all his rebel tempests. Dark clouds faint 

When, from thy diadem, a silver gleam 

Slants over blue dominion. Thy bright team 

Gulfs in the morning light, and scuds along 

To bring thee nearer to that golden song 

Apollo singeth, while his chariot 

Waits at the doors of heaven. Thou art not 

For scenes like this : an empire stern hast thou ; 

And it hath furrow' d that large front : yet now, 

As newly come of heaven, dost thou sit 

To blend and interknit 

Subdued majesty with this glad time. 

O shell-born King sublime ! 

We lay our hearts before thee evermore 

We sing, and we adore ! 

" Breathe softly, flutes ; 
Be tender of your strings, ye soothing lutes ; 
Nor be the trumpet heard ! O vain, O vain ! 
Not flowers budding in an April rain, 
Nor breath of sleeping dove, nor river's flow 
No, nor the ^iEolian twang of Love's own bow, 
Can mingle music fit for the soft ear 
Of goddess Cytherea! 

Yet deign, white Queen of Beauty, thy fair eyes 
On our soul's sacrifice. 

" Bright-winged Child ! 
Who has another care when thou hast smiled ? 
Unfortunates on earth, we see at last 



114 ENDYMION. 

All death-shadows, and glooms that overcast 

Our spirits, fann'd away by thy light pinions. 

O sweetest essence ! sweetest of all minions ! 

God of warm pulses, and dishevell'd hair, 

And panting bosoms bare ! 

Dear unseen light in darkness ! eclipser 

Of light in light ! delicious poisoner ! 

Thy venom'd goblet will we quaff until 

We fill we fill! 

And by thy Mother's lips " 

Was heard no more 
For clamour, when the golden palace-door 
Open'd again, and from without, in shone 
A new magnificence. On oozy throne 
Smooth-moving came Oceanus the old, 
To take a latest glimpse at his sheep-fold, 
Before he went into his quiet cave 
To muse for ever Then, a lucid wave, 
Scoop' d from its trembling sisters of mid-sea, 
Afloat, and pillowing up the majesty 
Of Doris, and the iEgean seer, her spouse 
Next, on a dolphin, clad in laurel boughs, 
Theban Amphion leaning on his lute : 
His fingers went across it All were mute 
To gaze on Amphitrite, queen of pearls, 
And Thetis pearly too. 

The palace whirls 
Around giddy Endymion ; seeing he 
Was there far strayed from mortality. 
He could not bear it shut his eyes in vain ; 



ENDYMION. 115 

Imagination gave a dizzier pain. 

"01 shall die ! sweet Venus, be my stay ! 

Where is my lovely mistress ? Well-away ! 

I die I hear her voice I feel my wing " 

At Neptune's feet he sank. A sudden ring 

Of Nereids were about him, in kind strife 

To usher back his spirit into life : 

But still he slept. At last they interwove 

Their cradling arms, and purposed to convey 

Towards a crystal bower far away. 

Lo ! while slow carried through the pitying crowd, 
To his inward senses these words spake aloud ; 
Written in star-light on the dark above : 
" Dearest Endymion ! my entire love ! 
How have I dwelt in fear of fate ; 'tis done 
Immortal bliss for me too hast thou won. 
Ajrise then ! for the hen-dove shall not hatch 
Her ready eggs, before I'll kissing snatch 
Thee into endless heaven. Awake ! awake ! " 

The youth at once arose : a placid lake 
Came quiet to his eyes ; and forest green, 
Cooler than all the wonder he had seen, 
Lull'd with its simple song his fluttering breast. 
How happy once again in grassy nest ! 




BOOK IV. 




BOOK IV. 



Muse of my native land ! loftiest Muse ! 

first-born on the mountains ! By the hues 

Of heaven on the spiritual air begot : 

Long didst thou sit alone in northern grot, 

While yet our England was a wolfish den ; 

Before our forests heard the talk of men ; 

Before the first of Druids was a child ; 

Long didst thou sit amid our regions wild, 

Rapt in a deep prophetic solitude. 

There came an eastern voice of solemn mood : 

Yet wast thou patient. Then sang forth the Nine, 



120 ENDYMION. 

Apollo's garland : yet didst thou divine 

Such home-bred glory, that they cried in vain, 

" Come hither, Sister of the Island! " Plain 

Spake fair Ausonia ; and once more she spake 

A higher summons : still didst thou betake 

Thee to thy native hopes. O thou hast won 

A full accomplishment ! The thing is done, 

Which undone, these our latter days had risen 

On barren souls. Great Muse, thou know'st what prison 

Of flesh and bone, curbs, and confines, and frets 

Our spirits' wings : despondency besets 

Our pillows ; and the fresh to-morrow morn 

Seems to give forth its light in very scorn 

Of our dull, uninspired, snail-paced lives. 

Long have I said, how happy he who shrives 

To thee ! But then I thought on poets gone, 

And could not pray : nor can I now so on 

I move to the end in lowliness of heart.- 

" Ah, woe is me ! that I should fondly part 
From my dear native land ! Ah, foolish maid ! 
Glad was the hour, when, with thee, myriads bade 
Adieu to Ganges and their pleasant fields ! 
To one so friendless the clear freshet yields 
A bitter coolness ; the ripe grape is sour : 
Yet I would have, great gods ! but one short hour 
Of native air let me but die at homo. ,, 

Endymion to heaven's airy dome 
Was offering up a hecatomb of vows, 
When these words reach' d him. Whereupon he bows 
His head through thorny-green entanglement 



ENDYMION. 121 

Of underwood, and to the sound is bent, 
Anxious as hind towards her hidden fawn. 

" Is no one near to help me ? No fair dawn 
Of life from charitable voice ? No sweet saying 
To set my dull and sadden M spirit playing ! 
No hand to toy with mine ? No lips so sweet 
That I may worship them ? No eyelids meet 
To twinkle on my bosom ? No one dies 
Before me, till from these enslaving eyes 
Eedemption sparkles ! I am sad and lost." 

Thou, Carian lord, hadst better have been tost 
Into a whirlpool. Vanish into air, 
Warm mountaineer ! for canst thou only bear 
A woman's sigh alone and in distress ? 
See not her charms ! Is Phoebe passionless ? 
Phoebe is fairer far O gaze no more : 
Yet if thou wilt behold all beauty's store, 
Behold her panting in the forest grass ! 
Do not those curls of glossy jet surpass 
For tenderness the arms so idly lain 
Amongst them ? Feelest not a kindred pain, 
To see such lovely eyes in swimming search 
After some warm delight, that seems to perch 
Dovelike in the dim cell lying beyond 
Their upper lids ? Hist ! 

" O for Hermes' wand, 
To touch this flower into human shape ! 
That woodland Hyacinthus could escape 
From his green prison, and here kneeling down 



122 ENDYMION. 

Call me his queen, his second life's fair crown ! 

Ah me, how I could love ! My soul doth melt 

For the unhappy youth Love ! I have felt 

So faint a kindness, such a meek surrender 

To what my own full thoughts had made too tender, 

That but for tears my life had fled away ! 

Te deaf and senseless minutes of the day, 

And thou, old forest, hold ye this for true, 

There is no lightning, no authentic dew 

But in the eye of love : there's not a sound, 

Melodious howsoever, can confound 

The heavens and earth in one to such a death 

As doth the voice of love : there's not a breatli 

Will mingle kindly with the meadow air, 

Till it has panted round, and stolen a share 

Of passion from the heart ! " 

Upon a bough 
He leant, wretched. He surely cannot now 
Thirst for another love : O impious, 
That he can even dream upon it thus ! 
Thought he, " Why am I not as are the dead, 
Since to a woe like this I have been led. 
Through the dark earth, and through the wondrous sea ? 
Goddess ! I love thee not the less : from thee 
By Juno's smile I turn not no, no, no 
While the great waters are at ebb and flow, 
I have a triple soul ! O fond pretence 
For both, for both my love is so immense, 
I feel my heart is cut in twain for them." 

And so he groan'd, as one by beauty slain. 



ENDYMION. 123 

The lady's heart beat quick, and he could see 
Her gentle bosom heave tumultuously. 
He sprang from his green covert : there she lay, 
Sweet as a musk-rose upon new-made hay ; 
With all her limbs on tremble, and her eyes 
Shut softly up alive. To speak he tries : 
" Fair damsel, pity me ! forgive that I 
Thus violate thy bower's sanctity ! 

pardon me, for I am full of grief 

Grief born of thee, young angel ! fairest thief ! 
"Who stolen hast away the wings wherewith 

1 was to top the heavens. Dear maid, sith 
Thou art my executioner, and I feel 
Loving and hatred, misery and weal, 

Will in a few short hours be nothing to me, 

And all my story that much passion slew me ; 

Do smile upon the evening of my days ; 

And, for my tortured brain begins to craze, 

Be thou my nurse ; and let me understand 

How dying I shall kiss that lily hand. 

Dost weep for me ! Then should I be content. 

Scowl on, ye fates ! until the firmament 

Outblackens Erebus, and the full-cavern' d earth 

Crumbles into itself. By the cloud-girth 

Of Jove, those tears have given me a thirst 

To meet oblivion." As her heart would burst 

The maiden sobb'd awhile, and then replied : 

" Why must such desolation betide 

As that thou speakest of? Are not these green nooks 

Empty of all misfortune ? Do the brooks 

Utter a gorgon voice ? Does yonder thrush, 

Schooling its half-fledged little ones to brush 



124 ENDYMION. 

About the dewy forest, whisper tales ? 

Speak not of grief, young stranger, or cold snails 

Will slime the rose to-night. Though if thou wilt, 

Methinks 'twould be a guilt a very guilt 

Not to companion thee, and sigh away 

The light the dusk the dark till break of day ! " 

" Dear lady," said Endymion, " 'tis past: 

I love thee ! and my days can never last. 

That I may pass in patience still speak : 

Let me have music dying, and I seek 

No more delight I bid adieu to all. 

Didst thou not after other climates call, 

And murmur about Indian streams ? " Then she, 

Sitting beneath the midmost forest tree, 

For pity sang this roundelay 

" O Sorrow ! 
Why dost borrow 

The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips ? 
To give maiden blushes 
To the white rose bushes ? 

Or is it thy dewy hand the daisy tips ? 

" O Sorrow ! 

Why dost borrow 
The lustrous passion from a falcon-eye f 

To give the glow-worm light ? 

Or, on a moonless night, 
To tinge, on syren shores, the salt sea-spry ? 

" O Sorrow ! 
Why dost borrow 



ENDYMION. 125 

The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue ? 

To give at evening pale 

Unto the nightingale, 
That thou mayst listen the cold dews among ? 

" O Sorrow ! 

Why dost borrow 
Heart's lightness from the merriment of May ? 

A lover would not tread 

A cowslip on the head, 
Though he should dance from eve till peep of day 

Nor any drooping flower 

Held sacred for thy bower, 
Wherever he may sport himself and play. 

" To Sorrow, 

I bade good morrow, 
And thought to leave her far away behind ; 

But cheerly, cheerly, 

She loves me dearly ; 
She is so constant to me, and so kind : 

I would deceive her, 

And so leave her, 
But ah ! she is so constant and so kind. 

" Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side, 
I sat a. weeping : in the whole world wide 
There was no one to ask me why I wept 

And so I kept 
Brimming the water-lily cups with tears 

Cold as my fears. 



126 ENDYMION. 

" Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side, 
I sat a weeping: what enamour' d bride, 
Cheated by shadowy wooer from the clouds, 

But hides and shrouds 
Beneath dark palm-trees by a river side ? 

" And as I sat, over the light blue hills 
There came a noise of revellers : the rills 
Into the wide stream came of purple hue 

'Twas Bacchus and his crew ! 
The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills 
From kissing cymbals made a merry din 

'Twas Bacchus and his kin ! 
Like to a moving vintage down they came, 
Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame ; 
All madly dancing through the pleasant valley, 

To scare thee, Melancholy ! 
O then, O then, thou wast a simple name ! 
And I forgot thee, as the berried holly 
By shepherds is forgotten, when in June, 
Tall chesnuts keep away the sun and moon : 

I rush'd into the folly ! 

" Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood, 
Trifling his ivy-dart, in dancing mood, 

With sidelong laughing ; 
And little rills of crimson wine imbrued 
His plump white arms, and shoulders, enough white 

For Venus' pearly bite ; 
And near him rode Silenus on his ass, 
Pelted with flowers as he on did pan 

Tipsily quaffing. 



ENDYMION. 127 

" Whence came ye, merry Damsels ! whence came ye, 
So many, and so many, and such glee ? 
Why have ye left your bowers desolate, 

Tour lutes, and gentler fate ? 
1 We follow Bacchus ! Bacchus on the wing, 

A conquering ! 




Bacchus, young Bacchus ! good or ill betide, 
We dance before him thorough kingdoms wide : 
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be 
To our wild minstrelsy ! ' 

" Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs ! whence came ye, 

So many, and so many, and such glee ? 

Why have ye left your forest haunts, why left 

Tour nuts in oak-tree cleft ? 
1 For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree ; 
For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms, 

And cold mushrooms ; 
For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth ; 



128 ENDYMION. 

Great god of breathless cups and chirping mirth ! 
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be ' 
To our mad minstrelsy ! ' 

" Over wide streams and mountains great we went, 
And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent, 
Onward the tiger and the leopard pants, 

"With Asian elephants : 
Onward these myriads with song and dance, 
With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance, 
Web-footed alligators, crocodiles, 
Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files, 
Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil 
Of seamen, and stout galley-rowers' toil : 
With toying oars and silken sails they glide, 

Nor care for wind and tide. 

" Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes, 
From rear to van they scour about the plains ; 
A three days' journey in a moment done ; 
And always, at the rising of the sun, 
About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn, 
On spleenful unicorn. 

11 1 saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown 

Before the vine-wreath crown ! 

I saw parch'd Abyssinia rouse and sing 
To the silver cymbals' ring ! 

I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce 
Old Tartary the fierce ! 

The kings of Ind their jewel-sceptres vail. 

And from their treasures Matter pearled hail; 



ENDYMION. 129 

Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans, 

And all his priesthood moans, 
Before young Bacchus' eye-wink turning pale. 
Into these regions came I, following him, 
Sick-hearted, weary so I took a whim 
To stray away into these forests drear, 

Alone, without a peer : 
And I have told thee all thou mayest hear. 

" Young Stranger ! 

I've been a ranger 
In search of pleasure throughout every clime ; 

Alas ! 'tis not for me : 

Bewitch' d I sure must be, 
To lose in grieving all my maiden prime. 

" Come then, Sorrow, 

Sweetest Sorrow ! 
Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast : 

I thought to leave thee, 

And deceive thee, 
But now of all the world I love thee best. 

" There is not one, 

No, no, not one 
But thee to comfort a poor lonely maid ; 

Thou art her mother, 

And her brother, 
Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade." 

O what a sigh she gave in finishing, 
And look, quite dead to every worldly thing ! 



130 ENDYMION. 

Endymion could not speak, but gazed on her : 

And listen'd to the wind that now did stir 

About the crisped oaks full drearily, 

Yet with as sweet a softness as might be 

Remember' d from its velvet summer song. 

At last he said : " Poor lady ! how thus long 

Have I been able to endure that voice ? 

Fair Melody ! kind Syren ! I've no choice ; 

I must be thy sad servant evermore : 

I cannot choose but kneel here and adore. 

Alas, I must not think by Phoebe, no ! 

Let me not think, soft Angel ! shall it be so ? 

Say, beautifullest, shall I never think ? 

O thou couldst foster me beyond the brink 

Of recollection ! make my watchful care 

Close up its bloodshot eyes, nor see despair! 

Do gently murder half my soul, and I 

Shall feel the other half so utterly ! 

I'm giddy at that cheek so fair and smooth ; 

O let it blush so ever : let it soothe 

My madness ! let it mantle rosy-warm 

With the tinge of love, panting in safe alarm. 

This cannot be thy hand, and yet it is ; 

And this is sure thine other softling this 

Thine own fair bosom, and I am so ne;ir ! 

Wilt fall asleep ? O let me sip that tear ! 

And whisper one sweet word that I may know 

This is this world sweet dewy blossom ! " Woe ! 

Woe! woe to that Endymion! Wiiiki is of 

Even these words went echoing dismally 

Through the wide forest a most fearful tone, 

Like one repenting in his latest moan ; 



ENDYMION". 131 

And while it died away a shade pass'd by, 

As of a thunder-cloud. When arrows fly 

Through the thick branches, poor ring-doves sleek forth 

Their timid necks and tremble ; so these both 

Leant to each other trembling, and sat so 

Waiting for some destruction when lo ! 

Foot-feather' d Mercury appear' d sublime 

Beyond the tall tree tops ; and in less time 

Than shoots the slanted hail-storm, down he dropp'd 

Towards the ground ; but rested not, nor stopp'd 

One moment from his home : only the sward 

He with his wand light touch'd, and heavenward 

Swifter than sight was gone even before 

The teeming earth a sudden witness bore 

Of his swift magic. Diving swans appear 

Above the crystal circlings white and clear ; 

And catch the cheated eye in wild surprise, 

How they can dive in sight and unseen rise 

So from the turf outsprang two steeds jet-black, 

Each with large dark blue wings upon his back. 

The youth of Caria placed the lovely dame 

On one, and felt himself in spleen to tame 

The other's fierceness. Through the air they flew, 

High as the eagles. Like two drops of dew 

Exhaled to Phcebus' lips, away they are gone, 

Far from the earth away unseen, alone, 

Among cool clouds and winds, but that the free 

The buoyant life of song can floating be 

Above their heads, and follow them untired. 

Muse of my native land ! am I inspired ? 

This is the giddy air, and I must spread 

Wide pinions to keep here ; nor do I dread 



132 ENDYMION. 

Or height, or depth, or width, or any chance 
Precipitous : I have beneath my glance 
Those towering horses and their mournful freight. 
Could I thus sail, and see, and thus await 
Fearless for power of thought, without thine aid ? 
There is a sleepy dusk, an odorous shade 
From some approaching wonder, and behold 
Those winged steeds, with snorting nostrils bold 
Snuff at its faint extreme, and seem to tire, 
Dying to embers from their native fire ! 

There curl'd a purple mist around them ; soon, 
It seem'd as when around the pale new moon 
Sad Zephyr droops the clouds like weeping willow 
'Twas Sleep slow journeying with head on pillow. 
For the first time, since he came nigh dead-born 
From the old womb of night, his cave forlorn 
Had he left more forlorn ; for the first time, 
He felt aloof the day and morning's prime 
Because into his depth Cimmerian 
There came a dream, showing how a young man, 
Ere a lean bat could plump its wintry skin, 
Would at high Jove's empyreal footstool win 
An immortality, and how espouse 
Jove's daughter, and be reckon'd of his house. 
Now was he slumbering towards heaven's gate, 
That he might at the threshold one hour wait 
To hear the marriage melodies, and then 
Sink downward to his dusky cave again : 
His litter of smooth semilucent mist, 
Diversely tinged with rose and amethyst, 
Puzzled those eyes that for the centre sought ; 



ENDYMION. 133 

And scarcely for one moment could be caught 

His sluggish form reposing motionless. 

Those two on winged steeds, with all the stress 

Of vision search'd for him, as one would look 

Athwart the sallows of a river nook 

To catch a glance at silver-throated eels, 

Or from old Skiddaw's top, when fog conceals 

His rugged forehead in a mantle pale, 

With an eye-guess towards some pleasant vale, 

Descry a favourite hamlet faint and far. 

These raven horses, though they foster' d are 
Of earth's splenetic fire, dully drop 
Their f nil- vein' d ears, nostrils blood wide, and stop ; 
Upon the spiritless mist have they outspread 
Their ample feathers, are in slumber dead, 
And on those pinions, level in mid-air, 
Endymion sleepeth and the lady fair. 
Slowly they sail, slowly as icy isle 
Upon a calm sea drifting : and meanwhile 
The mournful wanderer dreams. Behold ! he walks 
On heaven's pavement, brotherly he talks 
To divine powers : from his hand full fain 
Juno's proud birds are pecking pearly grain : 
He tries the nerve of Phoebus' golden bow, 
And asketh where the golden apples grow : 
Upon his arm he braces Pallas' shield, 
And strives in vain to unsettle and wield 
A Jovian thunderbolt : arch Hebe brings 
A full-brimm'd goblet, dances lightly, sings 
And tantalises long ; at last he drinks, 
And lost in pleasure, at her feet he sinks, 



134 ENDYMION. 

Touching with dazzled lips her star-light hand, 

He blows a bugle, an ethereal band 

Are visible above : the Seasons four, 

Green-kirtled Spring, flush Summer, golden store 

In Autumn's sickle, Winter frosty hoar, 

Join dance with shadowy Hours ; while still the blast, 

In swells unmitigated, still doth last 

To sway their floating morris. " Whose is this ? 

Whose bugle ? " he inquires : they smile " O Dis ! 

Why is this mortal here ? Dost thou not know 

Its mistress' lips ? Not thou ? 'Tis Dian's : lo ! 

She rises crescented ! " He looks, 'tis she, 

His very goddess : good-bye earth, and sea, 

And air, and pains, and care, and suffering ; 

Good-bye to all but love ! Then doth he spring 

Towards her, and awakes and, strange, o'erhead, 

Of those same fragrant exhalations bred, 

Beheld awake his very dream : the gods 

Stood smiling ; merry Hebe laughs and nods ; 

And Phoebe bends towards him crescented. 

O state perplexing ! On the pinion bed, 

Too well awake, he feels the panting side 

Of his delicious lady. He who died 

For soaring too audacious in the sun, 

Where that same treacherous wax began to run, 

Felt not more tongue-tied than Endymion. 

His heart leapt up as to its rightful throne, 

To that fair-shadow' d passion pulsed its way 

Ah, what perplexity ! Ah, well a-day ! 

So fond, so beauteous was his bed-fellow, 

He could not help but kiss her : then he grew 

Awhile forgetful of all beauty save 



ENDYMION. 135 

Young Phoebe's, golden-hair'd ; and so 'gan crave 

Forgiveness : yet he turn'd once more to look 

At the sweet sleeper, all his soul was shook, 

She press'd his hand in slumber ; so once more 

He could not help but kiss her and adore. 

At this the shadow wept, melting away. 

The Latmian started up : " Bright goddess, stay ! 

Search my most hidden breast ! By truth's own tongue, 

I have no daedale heart ; why is it wrung 

To desperation ? Is there nought for me, 

Upon the bourne of bliss, but misery ? " 

These words awoke the stranger of dark tresses : 
Her dawning love-look rapt Endymion blesses 
With 'haviour soft. Sleep yawn'd from underneath. 
" Thou swan of Ganges, let us no more breathe 
This murky phantasm ! thou contented seem'st 
Pillow' d in lovely idleness, nor dream' st 
What horrors may discomfort thee and me. 
Ah, shouldst thou die from my heart-treachery ! 
Yet did she merely weep her gentle soul 
Hath no revenge in it ; as it is whole 
In tenderness, would I were whole in love ! 
Can I prize thee, fair maid, all price above, 
Even when I feel as true as innocence ! 
I do, I do. What is this soul then ? Whence 
Came it ? It does not seem my own, and I 
Have no self-passion or identity. 
Some fearful end must be ; where, where is it ? 
By Nemesis ! I see my spirit flit 
Alone about the dark Forgive me, sweet ! 
Shall we away ? " He roused the steeds ; they beat 



136 ENDYMION. 

Their wings chivalrous into the clear air, 
Leaving old Sleep within his vapoury lair. 

The good-night blush of eve was waning slow, 
And Vesper, risen star, began to throe 
In the dusk heavens silvery, when they 
Thus sprang direct towards the Galaxy. 
Nor did speed hinder converse soft and strange 
Eternal oaths and vows they interchange, 
In such wise, in such temper, so aloof 
Up in the winds, beneath a starry roof, 
So witless of their doom, that verily 
'Tis well nigh past man's search their hearts to see ; 
Whether they wept, or laugh'd, or grieved, or toy'd 
Most like with joy gone mad, with sorrow cloy'd. 

Full facing their swift flight, from ebon streak, 
The moon put forth a little diamond peak, 
No bigger than an unobserved star, 
Or tiny point of fairy scimetar ; 
Bright signal that she only stoop' d to tie 
Her silver sandals, ere deliciously 
She bow'd into the heavens her timid head. 
Slowly she rose, as though she would have fled, 
While to his lady meek the Carian turn'd, 
To mark if her dark eyes had yet discern' d 
This beauty in its birth Despair ! despair ! 
He saw her body fading gaunt and spare 
In the cold moonshine. Straight he seized her wrist ; 
It melted from his grasp ; her hand he kiss'd, 
And, horror ! kiss'd his own he was alone. 
Her steed a little higher soar'd, and then 



ENDYMION. 137 

Dropt hawk- wise to the earth. 

There lies a den, 
Beyond the seeming confines of the space 
Made for the soul to wander in and trace 
Its own existence, of remotest glooms. 
Dark regions are around it, where the tombs 
Of buried griefs the spirit sees, but scarce 
One hour doth linger weeping, for the pierce 
Of new-born woe it feels more inly smart : 
And in these regions many a venom'd dart 
At random flies ; they are the proper home 
Of every ill : the man is yet to come 
Who hath not journey'd in this native hell. 
But few have ever felt how calm and well 
Sleep may be had in that deep den of all. 
There anguish does not sting, nor pleasure pall ; 
Woe-hurricanes beat ever at the gate, 
Yet all is still within and desolate. 
Beset with painful gusts, within ye hear 
No sound so loud as when on curtain' d bier 
The death-watch tick is stifled. Enter none 
Who strive therefore ; on the sudden it is won. 
Just when the sufferer begins to burn, 
Then it is free to him ; and from an urn, 
Still fed by melting ice, he takes a draught 
Young Semele such richness never quaff'd 
In her maternal longing. Happy gloom ! 
Dark Paradise ! where pale becomes the bloom 
Of health by due ; where silence dreariest 
Is most articulate ; where hopes infest ; 
Where those eyes are the brightest far that keep 



138 ENDYMION. 

Their lids shut longest in a dreamless sleep. 
O happy spirit-home ! O wondrous soul ! 
Pregnant with such a den to save the whole 
In thine own depth. Hail, gentle Carian ! 
For, never since thy griefs and woes began, 
Hast thou felt so content : a grievous feud 
Hath led thee to this Cave of Quietude. 
Ay, his lull'd soul was there, although upborne 
With dangerous speed : and so he did not mourn 
Because he knew not whither he was going. 
So happy was he, not the aerial blowing 
Of trumpets at clear parley from the east 
Could rouse from that fine relish, that high feast. 
They stung the feather' d horse; with fierce alarm 
He flapp'd towards the sound. Alas ! no charm 
Could lift Endymion's head, or he had view'd 
A skyey mask, a pinion'd multitude, 
And silvery was its passing : voices sweet 
Warbling the while as if to lull and greet 
The wanderer in his path. Thus warbled they, 
While past the vision went in bright array. 

" Who, who from Dian's feast would be away ? 
For all the golden bowers of the day 
Are empty left ? Who, who away would be 
From Cynthia's wedding and festivity ? 
Not Hesperus : lo ! upon his silver wings 
He leans away for highest heaven ami sings, 
Snapping his lucid fingers merrily ! 
All, Zephyrus ! art here, and Flora too ? 
Ye tender bibbers of the rain and dew, 
Young playmates of the rose and daffodil, 



ENDYMION. 139 

Be careful, ere ye enter in, to fill 

Your baskets high 
With fennel green, and bairn, and golden pines, 
Savory, latter-mint, and columbines, 
Cool parsley, basil sweet, and sunny thyme ; 
Yea, every flower and leaf of every clime, 
All gather' d in the dewy morning : hie 

Away ! fly, fly ! 
Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven, 
Aquarius ! to whom king Jove has given 
Two liquid pulse streams 'stead of feather'd wings, 
Two fanlike fountains, thine illuminings 

For Dian play : 
Dissolve the frozen purity of air ; 
Let thy white shoulders silvery and bare 
Show cold through watery pinions ; make more bright 
The Star- Queen's crescent on her marriage night : 

Haste, haste away ! 
Castor has tamed the planet Lion, see ! 
And of the Bear has Pollux mastery : 
A third is in the race ! who is the third, 
Speeding away swift as the eagle bird ? 

The ramping Centaur ! 
The Lion's mane 's on end : the Bear how fierce ! 
The Centaur's arrow ready seems to pierce 
Some enemy : far forth his bow is bent 
Into the blue of heaven. He'll be shent, 

Pale unrelentor, 
When he shall hear the wedding lutes a playing. 
Andromeda ! sweet woman ! why delaying 
So timidly among the stars : come hither ! 
Join this bright throng, and nimbly follow whither 



140 ENDYMION. 

They all are going. 
Danae's Son, before Jove newly bow'd, 
Has wept for thee, calling to Jove aloud. 
Thee, gentle lady, did he disenthral : 
Ye shall for ever live and love, for all 

Thy tears are flowing. 
By Daphne's fright, behold Apollo ! " 

More 
Endymion heard not : down his steed him bore, 
Prone to the green head of a misty hill. 

His first touch of the earth went nigh to kill. 
" Alas ! " said he, " were I but always borne 
Through dangerous winds, had but my footsteps worn 
A path in hell, for ever would I bless 
Horrors which nourish an uneasiness 
For my own sullen conquering ; to him 
Who lives beyond earth's boundary, grief is dim, 
Sorrow is but a shadow : now I see 
The grass ; I feel the solid ground All, me ! 
It is thy voice divinest ! Where F who ? who 
Left thee so quiet on this bed of dew ? 
Behold upon this happy earth we are ; 
Let us aye love each other ; let us fare 
On forest-fruits, and never, never go 
Among the abodes of mortals here below, 
Or be by phantoms duped. O destiny ! 
Into a labyrinth now my soul would fly, 
But with thy beauty will I deaden it. 
Where didst thou melt to ? By thee will 1 sit 
For ever : let our fate stop here a kid 



ENDYMION. 141 

I ou this spot will offer : Pan will bid 

Us live in peace, in love and peace among 

His forest wildernesses. I have clung 

To nothing, loved a nothing, nothing seen 

Or felt but a great dream ! Oh, I have been 

Presumptuous against love, against the sky, 

Against all elements, against the tie 

Of mortals each to each, against the blooms 

Of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs 

Of heroes gone! Against his proper glory 

Has my own soul conspired : so my story 

Will I to children utter, and repent. 

There never lived a mortal man, who bent 

His appetite beyond his natural sphere, 

But starved and died. My sweetest Indian, here, 

Here will I kneel, for thou redeemed hast 

My life from too thin breathing : gone and past 

Are cloudy phantasms. Caverns lone, farewell ! 

And air of visions, and the monstrous swell 

Of visionary seas ! No, never more 

Shall airy voices cheat me to the shore 

Of tangled wonder, breathless and aghast. 

Adieu, my daintiest Dream ! although so vast 

My love is still for thee. The hour may come 

When we shall meet in pure elysium. 

On earth I may not love thee, and therefore 

Doves will I offer up, and sweetest store 

All through the teeming year : so thou wilt shine 

On me, and on this damsel fair of mine, 

And bless our simple lives. My Indian bliss ! 

My river-lily bud ! one human kiss ! 

One sigh of real breath one gentle squeeze, 



142 ENDYMION. 

Warm as a dove's nest among summer trees, 

And warm with dew at ooze from living blood! 

Whither didst melt ? Ah, what of that ! all good 

We'll talk about no more of dreaming. Now, 

Where shall our dwelling be ? Under the brow 

Of some steep mossy hill, where ivy dun 

Would hide us up, although spring leaves were none ; 

And where dark yew-trees, as we rustle through, 

Will drop their scarlet-berry cups of dew ! 

O thou wouldst joy to live in such a place ! 

Dusk for our loves, yet light enough to grace 

Those gentle limbs on mossy bed reclined : 

For by one step the blue sky shouldst thou find, 

And by another, in deep dell below, 

See, through the trees, a little river go 

All iu its mid-day gold and glimmering. 

Honey from out the gnarled hive I'll bring, 

And apples, wan with sweetness, gather thee, 

Cresses that grow where no man may them see, 

And sorrel untorn by the dew-claw'd stag: 

Pipes will I fashion of the syrinx flag, 

That thou mayst always know whither I roam, 

When it shall please thee in our quiet home 

To listen and think of love. Still let me speak ; 

Still let me dive into the joy I seek, 

For yet the past doth prison me. The rill, 

Thou haply mayst delight in, will I fill 

With fairy fishes from the mount nin turn, 

And thou shalt feed them from the squirrel's barn. 

Its bottom will I strew with amber shells, 

And pebbles blue from deep enchanted wells. 

Its sides Til plant with dew-sweet eglantine 



ENDYMION. 143 

And honeysuckles full of clear bee-wine. 

I will entice this crystal rill to trace 

Love's silver name upon the meadow's face. 

I'll kneel to Vesta, for a flame of fire ; 

And to god Phoebus, for a golden lyre ; 

To Empress Dian, for a hunting-spear ; 

To Vesper, for a taper silver-clear, 

That I may see thy beauty through the night ; 

To Flora, and a nightingale shall light 

Tame on thy finger ; to the River-gods, 

And they shall bring thee taper fishing-rods 

Of gold, and lines of naiads' long bright tress. 

Heaven shield thee for thine utter loveliness ! 

Thy mossy footstool shall the altar be 

'Fore which I'll bend, bending, dear love, to thee : 

Those lips shall be my Delphos, and shall speak 

Laws to my footsteps, colour to my cheek, 

Trembling or steadfastness to this same voice, 

And of three sweetest pleasurings the choice : 

And that affectionate light, those diamond things, 

Those eyes, those passions, those supreme pearl springs, 

Shall be my grief, or twinkle me to pleasure. 

Say, is not bliss within our perfect seizure ? 

Oh that I could not doubt ! " 

The mountaineer 
Thus strove by fancies vain and crude to clear 
His brier' d path to some tranquillity. 
It gave bright gladness to his lady's eye, 
And yet the tears she wept were tears of sorrow ; 
Answering thus, just as the golden morrow 
Beam'd upward from the valleys of the east : 



144 ENDYMON. 

" O that the flutter of his heart had ceased, 

Or the sweet name of love had pass'd away ! 

Young feather' d tyrant ! hy a swift decay 

Wilt thou devote this body to the earth : 

And I do think that at my very birth 

I lisp'd thy blooming titles inwardly ; 

For at the first, first dawn and thought of thee, 

"With uplift hands I bless' d the stars of heaven. 

Art thou not cruel ? ever have I striven 

To think thee kind, but ah, it will not do ! 

When yet a child, I heard that kisses drew 

Favour from thee, and so I kisses gave 

To the void air, bidding them find out love : 

But when I came to feel how far above 

All fancy, pride, and fickle maidenhood, 

All earthly pleasure, all imagined good, 

Was the warm tremble of a devout kiss, 

Even then that moment, at the thought of this, 

Fainting I fell into a bed of flowers, 

And languish'd there three days. Ye milder powers, 

Am I not cruelly wrong'd ? Believe, believe 

Me, dear Endymion, were I to weave 

With my own fancies garlands of sweet life, 

Thou should' st be one of all. Ah, bitter strife ! 

I may not be thy love : I am forbidden 

Indeed I am thw T arted, affrighted, chidden, 

By things I trembled at, and gorgon wrath. 

Twice hast thou ask'd whither I went : henceforth 

Ask me no more ! I may not utter it, 

Nor may I be thy love. We might commit 

Ourselves at once to vengeance ; we might die ; 

We might embrace and die : voluptuous thought ! 



ENDYMION. 145 

Enlarge not to my hunger, or I'm caught 
In trammels of perverse deliciousness. 
No, no, that shall not be : thee will I bless, 
And bid a long adieu." 

The Carian 
No word ret urn' d : both lovelorn, silent, wan, 
Into the valleys green together went. 
Far wandering, they were perforce content 
To sit beneath a fair lone beechen tree ; 
Nor at each other gazed, but heavily 
Pored on its hazel cirque of shedded leaves. 

Endymion ! unhappy ! it nigh grieves 
Me to behold thee thus in last extreme : 
Enskied ere this, but truly that I deem 
Truth the best music in a first-born song. 
Thy lute-voiced brother will I sing ere long, 
And thou shalt aid hast thou not aided me ? 
Yes, moonlight Emperor ! felicity 
Has been thy meed for many thousand years ; 
Yet often have I, on the brink of tears, 
Mourn' d as if yet thou wert a forester; 
Forgetting the old tale. 

He did not stir 
His eyes from the dead leaves, or one small pulse 
Of joy he might have felt. The spirit culls 
Unfaded amaranth, when wild it strays 
Through the old garden-ground of boyish days. 
A little onward ran the very stream 
By which he took his first soft poppy dream ; 



146 ENDYMION. 

And on the very bark 'gainst which he leant 
A crescent he had carved, and round it spent 
His skill in little stars. The teeming tree 
Had swoll'n and green'd the pious charactery, 
But not ta'en out. Why, there was not a slope 
Up which he had not fear'd the antelope ; 
And not a tree, beneath whose rooty shade 
He had not with his tamed leopards play'd ; 
Nor could an arrow light, or javelin, 
Fly in the air where his had never been 
And yet he knew it not. 

O treachery ! 
Why does his lady smile, pleasing her eye 
With all his sorrowing ? He sees her not. 
But who so stares on him ? His sister sure ! 
Peona of the woods ! Can she endure ? 
Impossible how dearly they embrace ! 
His lady smiles ; delight is in her face ; 
It is no treachery. 

" Dear brother mine ! 
Endymion, weep not so! Why should'st thou pine 
When all great Latmos so exalt will be ? 
Thank the great gods, and look not bitterly ; 
And speak not one pale word, and sigh no more. 
Sure I will not believe thou hast such store 
Of grief, to last thee to my kiss again. 
Thou surely canst not bear a mind in pain, 
Come hand in hand with one so beautiful. 
Be happy both of you ! for I will pull 
The flowers of autumn for your coronals. 



ENDYMION. 14 3 

Pan's holy priest for young Endymion calls ; 

And when he is restored, thou, fairest dame, 

Shalt be our queen. Now, is it not a shame 

To see ye thus, not very, very sad ? 

Perhaps ye are too happy to be glad : 

feel as if it were a common day ; 

Free-voiced as one who never was away. 

No tongue shall ask, whence come ye ? but ye shall 

Be gods of your own rest imperial. 

Not even I, for one whole month, will pry 

Into the hours that have pass'd us by, 

Since in my arbour I did sing to thee. 

O Hermes ! on this very night will be 

A hymning up to Cynthia, queen of light ; 

For the soothsayers old saw yesternight 

Grood visions in the air, whence will befal, 

As say these sages, health perpetual 

To shepherds and their flocks ; and furthermore, 

In Dian's face they read the gentle lore : 

Therefore for her these vesper-carols are. 

Our friends will all be there from nigh and far. 

Many upon thy death have ditties made ; 

And many, even now, their foreheads shade 

With cypress, on a day of sacrifice. 

New singing for our maids shalt thou devise, 

And pluck the sorrow from our huntsmen's brows, 

Tell me, my lady-queen, how to espouse 

This wayward brother to his rightful joys ! 

His eyes are on thee bent, as thou didst poise 

His fate most goddess-like. Help me, I pray, 

To lure Endymion, dear brother, say 

What ails thee ?" He could bear no more, and so 



148 ENDYMION. 

Bent his soul fiercely like a spiritual bow, 

And tvvang'd it inwardly, and calmly said : 

" I would have thee my only friend, sweet maid ! 

My only visitor ! not ignorant though, 

That those deceptions which for pleasure go 

'Mong men, are pleasures real as real may be : 

But there are higher ones I may not see, 

If impiously an earthly realm I take. 

Since I saw thee, I have been wide awake 

Night after night, and day by day, until 

Of the empyrean I have drunk my fill. 

Let it content thee, Sister, seeing me 

More happy than betides mortality. 

A hermit young, I'll live in mossy cave, 

Where thou alone shalt come to me, and lave 

Thy spirit in the wonders I shall tell. 

Through me the shepherd realm shall prosper well ; 

For to thy tongue will I all health confide. 

And for my sake, let this young maid abide 

With thee as a dear sister. Thou alone, 

Peona, mayst return to me. I own 

This may sound strangely : but when, dearest girl, 

Thou seest it for my happiness, no pearl 

Will trespass down those cheeks. Companion fair ! 

Wilt be content to dwell with her, to share 

This sister's love with me ?" Like one resign'd 

And bent by circumstances, and thereby blind 

In self-commitment, thus, that meek unknown : 

"Ay, but a buzzing by my ears has flown, 

Of jubilee to Dian : truth I heard ! 

Well then, I see there is no little bird, 

Tender soever, but is Jove's own care. 



ENDYMION. 149 

Long have I sought for rest, and unaware, 

Behold I find it ! so exalted too ! 

So after my own heart ! I knew, I knew 

There was a place untenanted in it ; 

In that same void white Chastity shall sit, 

And monitor me nightly to lone slumber. 

"With sanest lips I vow me to the number 

Of Dian's sisterhood ; and kind lady, 

With thy good help, this very night shall see 

My future days to her fane consecrate." 

As feels a dreamer what doth most create 
His own particular fright, so these three felt : 
Or like one who, in after ages, knelt 
To Lucifer or Baal, when he'd pine 
After a little sleep : or when in mine 
Far under-ground, a sleeper meets his friends 
Who know him not. Each diligently bends 
Towards common thoughts and things for very fear ; 
Striving their ghastly malady to cheer, 
By thinking it a thing of yes and no, 
That housewives talk of. But the spirit-blow 
Was struck, and all were dreamers. At the last 
Endymion said : " Are not our fates all cast ? 
Why stand we here ? Adieu, ye tender pair ! 
Adieu !" Whereat those maidens, with wild stare, 
Walk'd dizzily away. Pained and hot 
His eyes went after them, until they got 
Near to a cypress grove, whose deadly maw, 
In one swift moment, would what then he saw 
Engulf for ever. " Stay," he cried, " ah, stay ! 
Turn damsels ! hist ! one word I have to say : 



150 ENDYMION. 

Sweet Indian, I would see thee once again. 

It is a thing I dote on : so I'd fain, 

Peona, ye should hand in hand repair, 

Into those holy groves that silent are 

Behind great Dian's temple. I'll be yon, 

At vesper's earliest twankle they are gone 

But once, once, once again " At this he prest 

His hands against his face, and then did rest 

His head upon a mossy hillock green 

And so remain'd as he a corpse had been 

All the long day ; save when he scantly lifted 

His eyes abroad, to see how shadows shifted 

With the slow move of time, sluggish and weary 

Until the poplar tops, in journey dreary, 

Had reach'd the river's brim. Then up he rose, 

And, slowly as that very river flows, 

AV r alk'd towards the temple-grove with this lament : 

" Why such a golden eve ? The breeze is sent 

Careful and soft, that not a leaf may fall 

Before the serene father of them all 

Bows dow T n his summer head below the west. 

Now ami of breath, speech, and speed possest, 

But at the setting I must bid adieu 

To her for the last time. Night will strew 

On the damp grass myriads of lingering leaves, 

And with them shall I die ; nor much it grieves 

To die, when summer dies on the cold sward. 

Why, I have been a butterfly, a lord 

Of flowers, garlands, love-knots, silly posies, 

Groves, meadows, melodies, and arbour-roses ; 

My kingdom's at its death, and just it is 

That I should die with it : so in all this 



ENDYMION. 151 

We miscal grief, bale, sorrow, heart-break, woe, 
What is there to plain of? By Titan's foe 
I am but rightly served." So saying, he 
Tripp 'd lightly on, in sort of deathful glee ; 
Laughing at the clear stream and setting sun, 
As though they jests had been : nor had he done 
His laugh at nature's holy countenance, 
Until that grove appear' d, as if perchance, 
And then his tongue with sober seemlihed 
Grave utterance as he enter' d : " Ha ! " he said, 
" King of the butterflies ; but by this gloom, 
And by old Ehadamanthus' tongue of doom, 
This dusk religion, pomp of solitude, 
And the Promethean clay by thief endued, 
By old Saturnus' forelock, by his head 
Shook with eternal palsy, I did wed 
Myself to things of light from infancy ; 
And thus to be cast out, thus lorn to die, 
Is sure enough to make a mortal man 
Grow impious." So he inwardly began 
On things for which no wording can be found ; 
Deeper and deeper sinking, until drown' d 
Beyond the reach of music : for the choir 
Of Cynthia he heard not, though rough brier 
Nor muffling thicket interposed to dull 
The vesper hymn, far swollen, soft and full, 
Through the dark pillars of those sylvan aisles. 
He saw not the two maidens, nor their smiles, 
Wan as primroses gather'd at midnight 
By chilly-finger' d spring. Unhappy wight ! 
" Endymion ! " said Peona, " we are here ! 
What wouldst thou ere we all are laid on bier?" 



152 ENDYMION. 

Then he embraced her, and his lady's hand 

Press' d, saying : " Sister, I would have command, 

If it were heaven's will, on our sad fate." 

At which that dark-eyed stranger stood elate 

And said, in a new voice, but sweet as love, 

To Endymion's amaze : "By Cupid's dove, 

And so thou shalt ! and by the lily truth 

Of my own breast thou shalt, beloved youth !" 

And as she spake, into her face there came 

Light, as reflected from a silver flame : 

Her long black hair swell'd ampler, in display 

Full golden ; in her eyes a brighter day 

Dawn'd blue, and full of love. Aye, he beheld 

Phoebe, his passion ! joyous she upheld 

Her lucid bow, continuing thus: " Drear, drear 

Has our delaying been ; but foolish fear 

Withheld me first ; and then decrees of fate ; 

And then 'twas fit that from this mortal state 

Thou shouldst, my love, by some unlook'd-for change 

Be spiritualised. Peona, we shall range 

These forests, and to thee they safe shall be 

As was thy cradle ; hither shalt thou flee 

To meet us many a time." Next Cynthia bright 

Peona kiss'd, and bless'd with fair good night : 

Her brother kiss'd her too, and knelt adown 

Before his goddess, in a blissful swoon. 

She gave her fair hands to him, and behold, 

Before three swiftest kisses he had told, 

They vanished far away ! Peona went 

Some through the gloomy wood in wonderment. 




LAMIA. 



sSS 



*"""%,. 




LAMIA. 



PART I. 

Upon a time, before the faery broods 

Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods, 

Before King Oberon's bright diadem, 

Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem, 

Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns 

From rushes green, and brakes, and cowslipp'd lawns, 

The ever- smitten Hermes empty left 

His golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft : 

From high Olympus had he stolen light, 



156 LAMIA. 

On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight 

Of his great summoner, and made retreat 

Into a forest on the shores of Crete. 

For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt 

A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt ; 

At whose white feet the languid Tritons pour'd 

Pearls, while on land they wither' d and adored. 

Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont, 

And in those meads where sometimes she might haunt, 

"Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Muse, 

Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose. 

Ah, what a world of love was at her feet ! 

So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat 

Burn'd from his winged heels to either ear, 

That from a whiteness, as the lily clear, 

Blush' d into roses 'mid his golden hair, 

Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare. 

From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew, 

Breathing upon the flowers his passion new, 

And wound with many a river to its head, 

To find where this sweet nymph prepared her secret bed 

In vain ; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found, 

And so he rested, on the lonely ground, 

Pensive, and full of painful jealousies 

Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees. 

There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice, 

Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys 

All pain but pity : thus the lone voice spake : 

" When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake ! 

When move in a sweet body fit for life, 

And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife 

Of hearts and lips ! Ah, miserable me ! " 



LAMIA. 157 

The God, dove-footed, glided silently 

Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed, 

The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, 

Until he found a palpitating snake, 

Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake. 

She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, 
Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue ; 
Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard, 
Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr'd ; 
And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed, 
Dissolved, or brighter shone, or interwreathed 
Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries 
So rainbow-sided, touch' d with miseries, 
She seem'd at once, some penanced lady elf, 
Some demon's mistress, or the demon's self. 
Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire 
Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar : 
Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet ! 
She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls complete : 
And for her eyes what could such eyes do there 
But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair ? 
As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air. 
Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake 
Came, as through bubbling honey, for Love's sake, 
And thus ; while Hermes on his pinions lay, 
Like a stoop' d falcon ere he takes his prey : 

" Fair Hermes ! crown' d with feathers, fluttering light, 
I had a splendid dream of thee last night : 
I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, 
Among the Gods, upon Olympus old, 



158 LAMIA. 

The only sad one ; for thou didst not hear 

The soft, lute-finger' d Muses chanting clear, 

Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, 

Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodious moan. 

I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, 

Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, 

And, swiftly as a bright Phcebean dart, 

Strike for the Cretan isle ; and here thou art ! 

Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid ? " 

Whereat the star of Lethe not delay' d 

His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired : 

" Thou sinooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high-inspired ! 

Thou beauteous wreath, with melancholy eyes, 

Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, 

Telling me only where my nymph is fled, 

Where she doth breathe !" "Bright planet, thou hast said," 

Heturn'd the snake, " but seal witli oaths, fair God ! " 

" I swear," said Hermes, " by my serpent rod, 

And by thine eyes, and by thy starry crown ! " 

Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms blown. 

Then thus again the brilliance feminine : 

" Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine, 

Free as the air, invisibly, she strays 

About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days 

She tastes unseen ; unseen her nimble feet 

Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet : 

From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green, 

She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen : 

And by my power is her beauty veil'd 

To keep it unaftrontcd, ininssail'd 

By the love-glances of unlovely eyes, 

Of Satyrs, Fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs. 



LAMIA. 159 



Pale grew her immortality, for woe 
Of all these lovers, aud she grieved so 
I took compassion on her, bade her steep 
Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep 
Her loveliness invisible, yet free 
To wander as she loves, in liberty. 




Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alone, 

If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon! " 

Then, once again, the charmed God began 

An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran 

Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian. 

Eavish'd she lifted her Circean head, 

Blush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said, 

" I was a woman, let me have once more 

A woman's shape, and charming as before. 

I love a youth of Corinth O the bliss ! 

Give me my woman's form, and place me where he is. 



160 LAMIA. 

Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy brow, 

And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now." 

The God on half-shut feathers sank serene, 

She breathed upon his eyes, and swift was seen 

Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on the green. 

It was no dream ; or say a dream it was, 

Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass 

Their pleasures in a long immortal dream. 

One warm, flush'd moment, hovering, it might seem 

Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he burn'd ; 

Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd 

To the swoon'd serpent, and with languid arm, 

Delicate, put to proof the lithe Caducean charm . 

So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent 

Full of adoring tears and blandishment, 

And towards her stept : she, like a moon in wane, 

Faded before him, cower'd, nor could restrain 

Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower 

That faints into itself at evening hour : 

But the God fostering her chilled hand, 

She felt the warmth, her eyelids open'd bland, 

And, like new flowers at morning song of bees, 

Bloom'd, and gave up her honey to the lees. 

Into the green-recessed woods they flew ; 

Nor grew they pale, as mortal lovers do. 

Left to herself, the serpent now began 
To change; her elfin blood in madness ran, 
Her mouth foam'd, and the grass, therewith besprent. 
Wither' d at dew so sweet and virulent ; 
Her eyes in torture fix'd, and anguish drear, 
Hot, glazed, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear, 



LAMIA. 161 

Plash'd phosphor and sharp sparks, without one cooling tear. 

The colours all inflamed throughout her train, 

She writhed about, convulsed with scarlet pain : 

A deep volcanian yellow took the place 

Of all her milder-mooned body's grace ; 

And, as the lava ravishes the mead, 

Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden brede : 

Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks and bars, 

Eclipsed her crescents, and lick'd up her stars : 

So that, in moments few, she was undrest 

Of all her sapphires, greens, and ameth yst, 

And rubious-argent : of all these bereft, 

Nothing but pain and ugliness were left. 

Still shone her crown ; that vanish' d, also she 

Melted and disappear'd as suddenly ; 

And in the air, her new voice luting soft, 

Cried, "Lycius ! gentle Lycius !" borne aloft 

With the bright mists about the mountains hoar 

These words dissolved : Crete's forests heard no more. 

Whither fled Lamia, now a lady bright, 
A full-born beauty new and exquisite ? 
She fled into that valley they pass o'er 
Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas' shore ; 
And rested at the foot of those wild hills, 
The rugged founts of the Peraean rills, 
And of that other ridge whose barren back 
Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack, 
South-westward to Cleone. There she stood 
About a young bird's flutter from a wood, 
Pair, on a sloping green of mossy tread, 
By a clear pool, wherein she passioned 



162 LAMIA. 

To see herself escaped from so sore ills, 
While her robes flaunted with the daffodils. 

Ah, happy Lycius ! for she was a maid 
More beautiful than ever twisted braid, 
Or sigh'd, or blush'd, or on spring-flower'd lea 
Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy : 
A virgin purest lipp'd, yet in the lore 
Of love deep learned to the red heart's core : 
Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain 
To unperplex bliss from its neighbour pain ; 
Define their pettish limits, and estrange 
Their points of contact, and swift counterchange ; 
Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dispart 
Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art ; 
As though in Cupid's college she had spent 
Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unshent, 
And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment. 

Why this fair creature chose so fairily 
By the wayside to linger, we shall see ; 
But first 'tis fit to tell how she could muse 
And dream, when in the serpent prison-house, 
Of all she list, strange or magnificent : 
How, ever, where she will'd, her spirit went ; 
Whether to faint Elysium, or where 
Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair 
Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair ; 
Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine, 
Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine ; 
Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine 
Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line. 



LAMIA. 163 

And sometimes into cities she would send 

Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend ; 

And once, while among mortals dreaming thus, 

She saw the young Corinthian Lycius 

Charioting foremost in the envious race, 

Like a young Jove with calm uneager face, 

And fell into a swooning love of him. 

Now on the moth-time of that evening dim 

He would return that way, as well she knew, 

To Corinth from the shore ; for freshly blew 

The eastern soft wind, and his galley now 

Grated the quay-stones with her brazen prow 

In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle 

Fresh anchor' d ; whither he had been awhile 

To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there 

Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rare. 

Jove heard his vows, and better' d his desire ; 

For by some freakful chance he made retire 

From his companions, and set forth to walk, 

Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk : 

Over the solitary hills he fared, 

Thoughtless, at first, but ere eve's star appear'd 

His phantasy was lost, where reason fades, 

In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shades. 

Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near 

Close to her passing, in indifference drear, 

His silent sandals swept the mossy green ; 

So neighbour d to him, and yet so unseen 

She stood : he pass'd, shut up in mysteries, 

His mind wrapp'd like his mantle, while her eyes 

Follow' d his steps, and her neck regal white 

Turn'd syllabling thus, " Ah, Lycius bright ! 



164 



LAMIA. 




And will you leave me on the hills alone ? 
Lycius look back! and be some pity shown.' 
He did; not with cold wonder fearingly, 
But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice ; 
For so delicious were the words she sung, 



LAMIA. 165 

lt'seem'd he had loved them a whole summer long : 

And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up, 

Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup, 

And still the cup was full, while he, afraid 

Lest she should vanish ere his lips had paid 

Due adoration, thus began to adore ; 

Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure : 

" Leave thee alone ! Look back ! Ah, Goddess, see 

Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee ! 

For pity do not this sad heart belie 

Even as thou vanishest so I shall die. 

Stay ! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay ! 

To thy far wishes will thy streams obey : 

Stay ! though the greenest woods be thy domain, 

Alone they can drink up the morning rain : 

Though a descended Pleiad, will not one 

Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune 

Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine ? 

So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mine 

Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade, 

Thy memory will waste me to a shade : 

For pity do not melt !" " If I should stay," 

Said Lamia, " here, upon this floor of clay, 

And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough, 

What canst thou say or do of charm enough 

To dull the nice remembrance of my home ? 

Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam 

Over these hills and vales, where no joy is, 

Empty of immortality and bliss ! 

Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know 

That finer spirits cannot breathe below 

In human climes, and live : Alas ! poor youth, 



166 LAMIA. 

What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe 

My essence ? What serener palaces, 

Where I may all my many senses please, 

And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease ; 

It cannot be Adieu!" So said, she rose 

Tiptoe with white arms spread. He, sick to lose 

The amorous promise of her lone complain, 

Swoon' d murmuring of love, and pale with pain. 

The cruel lady, without any show 

Of sorrow for her tender favourite's woe, 

But rather, if her eyes could brighter be, 

With brighter eyes and slow amenity, 

Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh 

The life she had so tangled in her mesh : 

And as he from one trance was wakening 

Into another, she began to sing, 

Happy in beauty, life, and love, and everything, 

A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres, 

While, like held breath, the stars drew in their panting fires. 

And then she whisper'd in such trembling tone, 

As those who, safe together met alone 

For the first time through many anguish'd days, 

Use other speech than looks ; bidding him raise 

His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt, 

For that she was a woman, and without 

Any more subtle fluid in her veins 

Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains 

Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his. 

And next she wonder'd how his eyes could miss 

Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said, 

She dwelt but half retired, and there had led 

Days happy as the gold coin could invent 



LAMIA. 1C7 

Without the aid of love ; yet in content 

Till she saw him, as once she pass'd him by, 

Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfully 

At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets heap'd 

Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reap'd 

Late on that eve, as 'twas the night before 

The Adonian feast ; whereof she saw no more, 

But wept alone those days, for why should she adore ? 

Lycius from death awoke into amaze, 

To see her still, and singing so sweet lays ; 

Then from amaze into delight he fell 

To hear her whisper woman's lore so well ; 

And every word she spake enticed him on 

To unperplex'd delight and pleasure known. 

Let the mad poets say whate'er they please 

Of the sweets of Fairies, Peris, Goddesses, 

There is not such a treat among them all, 

Haunters of cavern, lake, and waterfall, 

As a real woman, lineal indeed 

From Pyrrha's pebbles or old Adam's seed. 

Thus gentle Lamia judged, and judged aright, 

That Lycius could not love in half a fright, 

So threw the goddess off, and won his heart 

More pleasantly by playing woman's part, 

With no more awe than what her beauty gave, 

That, while it smote, still guaranteed to save. 

Lycius to all made eloquent reply, 

Marrying to every word a twin-born sigh ; 

And last, pointing to Corinth, ask'd her sweet, 

If 'twas too far that night for her soft feet. 

The way was short, for Lamia's eagerness 

Made, by a spell, the triple league decrease 



168 LAMIA. 

To a few paces ; not at all surmised 
By blinded Lycius, so in her comprised 
They pass'd the city gates, he knew not how, 
So noiseless, and he never thought to know. 

As men talk in a dream, so Corinth all, 
Throughout her palaces imperial, 
And all her populous streets and temples lewd, 
Mutter'd, like tempest in the distance brew'd, 
To the wide-spreaded night above her towers. 
Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool hours, 
Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement white, 
Companion'd or alone ; while many a light 
Flared, here and there, from wealthy festivals, 
And threw their moving shadows on the walls, 
Or found them cluster' d in the corniced shade 
Of some arch'd temple door, or dusky colonnade. 

Muffling his face, of greeting friends in fear. 
Her fingers he press'd hard, as one came near 
With curl'd grey beard, sharp eyes, and smooth bald crown, 
Slow-stepp'd, and robed in philosophic gown : 
Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past, 
Into his mantle, adding wings to haste, 
While hurried Lamia trembled : " Ah," said he, 
" Why do you shudder, love, so ruefully ? 
Why does your tender palm dissolve in dew ?" 
" I'm wearied," said fair Lamia : " tell me who 
Is that old man ? I cannot bring to mind 
His features : Lycius ! wherefore did you blind 
Yourself from his quick eyes ?" Lycius replied, 
"'Tis Apollonius sage, my trusty guide 



LAMIA. 



169 




And good instructor ; but to-night he seems 
The ghost of folly haunting my sweet dreams." 



While yet he spake they had arrived before 
A pillar' d porch, with lofty portal door, 



170 LAMIA. 

Where hung a silver lamp whose phosphor glow- 
Reflected in the slabbed steps below, 
Mild as a star in water ; for so new 
And so unsullied was the marble hue, 
So througli the crystal polish, liquid fine, 
Ran the dark veins, that none but feet divine 
Could e'er have toueh'd there. Sounds tEoIwui 
Breathed from the hinges, as the ample span 
Of the wide doors disclosed a place unknown 
Some time to any, but those two alone, 
And a few Persian mutes, who that same year 
Were seen about the markets : none knew where 
They could inhabit ; the most curious 
Were foil'd, who watch'd to trace them to their house 
And but the flitter-winged verse must tell, 
For truth's sake what woe afterwards befel, 
'Twould humour many a heart to leave them thus, 
Shut from the busy world of more incredulous. 





PAKT II. 



PART II. 

> 
Love in a hut, with water and a crust, 
Is Love, forgive us ! cinders, ashes, dust ; 
Love in a palace is perhaps at last 
More grievous torment than a hermit's fast : 
That is a doubtful tale from faery land, 
Hard for the non-elect to understand. 
Had Lycius lived to hand his story down, 
He might have given the moral a fresh frown, 
Or clench'd it quite : but too short was their bliss 
To breed distrust and hate, that make the soft voice hiss. 
Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare, 
Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair, 
Hover'd and buzz'd his wings, with fearful roar, 
Above the lintel of their chamber door, 
And down the passage cast a glow upon the floor. 

For all this came a ruin : side by side 
They were enthroned, in the even tide, 
Upon a couch, near to a curtaining 
Whose airy texture, from a golden string, 



174 LAMIA. 

Floated into the room, and let appear 

Unveil'd the summer heaven, blue and clear, 

Betwixt two marble shafts : there they reposed, 

Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids closed, 

Saving a tithe which love still open kept, 

That they might see each other while they almost slept ; 

When from the slope side of a suburb hill, 

Deafening the swallow's twitter, came a thrill 

Of trumpets Lycius started the sounds fled, 

But left a thought, a buzzing in his head. 

For the first time, since first he harbour' d in 

That purple-lined palace of sweet sin, 

His spirit pass'd beyond its golden bourn 

Into the noisy world almost forsworn. 

The lady, ever watchful, penetrant, 

Saw this with pain, so arguing a want 

Of something more, more than her empery 

Of joys ; and she began to moan and sigh 

Because he mused beyond her, knowing well 

That but a moment's thought is passion's passing bell. 

" Why do you sigh, fair creature ?" whisper'd he : 

" Why, do you think ?" return'd she tenderly : 

" You have deserted me ; where am I now ? 

Not in your heart while care w r eighs on your brow : 

No, no, you have dismiss'd me ; and I go 

From your breast houseless : ay, it must be so." 

He answer'd, bending to her open eyes, 

Where he was mirror'd small in paradise, 

" My silver planet, both of eve and morn ! 

Why will you plead yourself so sad forlorn, 

While I am striving how to fill my heart 

With deeper crimson, and a double siii.uf ': 



LAMIA. 175 

How to entangle, trammel up and snare 

Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you there, 

Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose ? 

Ay, a sweet kiss you see your mighty woes. 

My thoughts ! shall I unveil them ? Listen then ! 

What mortal hath a prize, that other men 

May be confounded and abash' d withal, 

But lets it sometimes pace abroad majestical, 

And triumph, as in thee I should rejoice 

Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth's voice. 

Let my foes choke, and my friends shout afar, 

While through the thronged streets your bridal car 

Wheels round its dazzling spokes." The lady's cheek 

Trembled ; she nothing said, but, pale and meek, 

Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain 

Of sorrows at his words ; at last with pain 

Beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung, 

To change his purpose. He thereat was stung, 

Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim 

Her wild and timid nature to his aim ; 

Besides, for all his love, in self despite, 

Against his better self, he took delight 

Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new. 

His passion, cruel grown, took on a hue 

Fierce and sanguineous as 'twas possible 

In one whose brow had no dark veins to swell. 

Fine was the mitigated fury, like 

Apollo's presence when in act to strike 

The serpent Ha, the serpent ! certes, she 

Was none. She burnt, she loved the tyranny, 

And, all subdued, consented to the hour 

When to the bridal he should lead his paramour. 



176 LAMIA. 

Whispering in midnight silence, said the youth, 

" Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, by my truth, 

I have not ask'd it, ever thinking thee 

Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny, 

As still I do. Hast any mortal name, 

Fit appellation for this dazzling frame ? 

Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth, 

To share our marriage feast and nuptial mirth ? " 

" I have no friends," said Lamia, " no, not one ; 

My presence in wide Corinth hardly known : 

My parents' bones are in their dusty urns 

Sepulchred, where no kindled incense burns, 

Seeing all their luckless race are dead, save me, 

And I neglect the holy rite for thee. 

Even as you list invite your many guests ; 

But if, as now it seems, your vision rests 

With any pleasure on me, do not bid 

Old Apollonius from him keep me hid." 

Lycius, perplex' d at words so blind and blank, 

Made close inquiry ; from whose touch she shrank, 

Feigning a sleep ; and he to the dull shade 

Of deep sleep in a moment was betray'd. 

It was the custom then to bring away 
The bride from home at blushing shut of day, 
Veil'd, in a chariot, heralded along 
By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage song, 
With other pageants : but this fair unknown 
Had not a friend. So being left alone 
(Lycius was gone to summon all his kin), 
And knowing surely she could never win 
His foolish heart from its mad pompousness, 



LAMIA. 177 

She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress 

The misery in fit magnificence. 

She did so, but 'tis doubtful how and whence 

Came, and who were her subtle servitors. 

About the halls, and to and from the doors, 

There was a noise of wings, till in short space 

The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched grace. 

A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone 

Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan 

Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade. 

Fresh carved cedar, mimicking a glade 

Of palm and plantain, met from either side, 

High in the midst, in honour of the bride : 

Two palms and then two plantains, and so on, 

From either side their stems branch'd one to one 

All down the aisled place ; and beneath all 

There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to 

wall. 
So canopied, lay an untasted feast 
Teeming with odours. Lamia, regal drest, 
Silently paced about, and as she went, 
In pale contented sort of discontent, 
Mission' d her viewless servants to enrich 
The fretted splendour of each nook and niche. 
Between the tree-stems marbled plain at first, 
Came jasper panels ; then, anon, there burst 
Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees, 
And with the larger wove in small intricacies. 
Approving all, she faded at self-will, 
And shut the chamber up, close, hush'd and still, 
Complete and ready for the revels rude, 
When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitude. 



8 LAMIA. 

The day appear'd, and all the gossip rout. 
O senseless Lycius ! Madman ! wherefore flout 
The silent-blessing fate, warm cloister'd hours, 
And show to common eyes these secret bowers ? 
The herd approach'd ; each guest, with busy brain, 
Arriving at the portal, gazed amain, 
And enter'd marvelling : for they knew the street, 
Remember' d it from childhood all complete 
Without a gap, yet ne'er before had seen 
That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne ; 
So in they hurried all, mazed, curious and keen : 
Save one, who look'd thereon with eye severe, 
And with calm-planted steps walk'd in austere ; 
'Twas Apollonius : something too he laugh'd, 
As though some knotty problem, that had daft 
His patient thought, had now begun to thaw, 
And solve and melt : 'twas just as he foresaw. 

He met within the murmurous vestibule 
His young disciple. " 'Tis no common rule, 
Lycius," said he, " for uninvited guest 
To force himself upon you, and infest 
With an unbidden presence the bright throng 
Of younger friends ; yet must I do this wrong, 
And you forgive me." Lycius blush'd and led 
The old man through the inner doors broad-spread 
With reconciling words and courteous mien 
Turning into sweet milk the sophist's spleen. 

Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room, 
Fill'd with pervading brilliance and perfume : 
Before each lucid panel fuming stood 



LAMIA. 179 

A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood, 
Each by a sacred tripod held aloft, 
Whose slender feet wide-swerved upon the soft 
Wool-woofed carpets : fifty wreaths of smoke 
From fifty censers their light voyage took 
To the high roof, still mimick'd as they rose 
Along the mirror' d walls by twin-clouds odorous. 
Twelve sphered tables by silk seats insphered, 
High as the level of a man's breast rear'd 
On libbard's paws, upheld the heavy gold 
Of cups and goblets, and the store thrice told 
Of Ceres' horn, and, in huge vessels, wine 
Came from the gloomy tun with merry shiue. 
Thus loaded with a feast the tables stood, 
Each shrining in the midst the image of a God. 

When in an antechamber every guest 
Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure press'd, 
By ministering slaves, upon his hands and feet, 
And fragrant oils with ceremony meet 
Pour'd on his hair, they all moved to the feast 
In white robes, and themselves in order placed 
Around the silken couches, wondering 
Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth could 
spring. 

Soft went the music the soft air along, 
While fluent Greek a vowel' d under-song 
Kept up among the guests, discoursing low 
At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow; 
But when the happy vintage touch'd their brains, 
Louder they talk, and louder come the strains 



180 LAMIA. 

Of powerful instruments : the gorgeous dyes, 

The space, the splendour of the draperies, 

The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer, 

Beautiful slaves, and Lamia's self, appear, 

Now, w T hen the wine has done its rosy deed, 

And every soul from human trammels freed, 

No more so strange ; for merry wine, sw r eet wine, 

Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine. 

Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height ; 

Flush'd were their cheeks, and bright eyes double bright: 

Garlands of every green, and every scent 

From vales deflower' d, or forest-trees branch-rent, 

In baskets of bright osier'd gold were brought 

High as the handles heap'd, to suit the thought 

Of every guest ; that each, as he did please, 

Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow'd at his ease. 

What wreath for Lamia ? What for Lycius ? 
What for the sage, old Apollonius ? 
Upon her aching forehead be there hung 
The leaves of willow and of adder's tongue ; 
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him 
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim 
Into forgetfulness ; and, for the sage, 
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage 
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly 
At the mere touch of cold philosophy ? 
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven : 
We know her woof, her texture ; she is given 
In the dull catalogue of common things. 
Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings, 
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, 



LAMIA. 181 

Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine 
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made 
The tender-person' d Lamia melt into a shade. 

By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place, 
Scarce saw in all the room another face, 
Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took 
Pull brimm'd, and opposite sent forth a look 
'Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance 
Erom his old teacher's wrinkled countenance, 
And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher 
Had fix'd his eye, without a twinkle or a stir, 
Eull on the alarmed beauty of the bride, 
Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride. 
Lycius then press'd her hand, with devout touch, 
As pale it lay upon the rosy couch : 
'Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins ; 
Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains 
Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart. 
" Lamia, what means this ? Wherefore dost thou start ? 
Know'st thou that man ? " Poor Lamia answer'd not. 
He gazed into her eyes, and not a jot 
Own'd they the lovelorn piteous appeal : 
More, more he gazed : his human senses reel : 
Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs ; 
There was no recognition in those orbs. 
" Lamia ! " he cried and no soft-toned reply. 
The many heard, and the loud revelry 
Grew hush ; the stately music no more breathes ; 
The myrtle sicken' d in a thousand wreaths. 
By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased ; 
A deadly silence step by step increased, 



182 



LAMIA. 



Until it seem'd a horrid presence there, 
And not a man but felt the terror in his hair. 
" Lamia ! " he shriek'd ; and nothing but the shriek 
With its sad echo did the silence break. 




" Begone, foul dream ! " he cried, gazing again 
In the bride's face, where now no azure vein 
Wander' d on fair-spaced temples ; no soft bloom 
Misted the cheek ; no passion to illume 
The deep-recessed vision : all was blight ; 
Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white. 



LAMIA. 183 

" Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man ! 

Turn them aside, wretch ! or the righteous ban 

Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images 

Here represent their shadowy presences, 

May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn 

Of painful blindness ; leaving thee forlorn, 

In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright 

Of conscience, for their long-offended might, 

For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries, 

Unlawful magic, and enticing lies. 

Corinthians ! look upon that grey-beard wretch ! 

Mark how, possess'd, his lashless eyelids stretch 

Around his demon eyes ! Corinthians, see ! 

My sweet bride withers at their potency." 

" Fool ! " said the sophist, in an under-tone 

Gruff with contempt ; which a death-nighing moan 

From Lycius answer'd, as heart-struck and lost, 

He sank supine beside the aching ghost. 

" Fool! Fool ! " repeated he, while his eyes still 

Relented not, nor moved ; " from every ill 

Of life have I preserved thee to this day, 

And shall I see thee made a serpent's prey ? " 

Then Lamia breathed death-breath ; the sophist's eye, 

Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly, 

Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging : she, as well 

As her weak hand could any meaning tell, 

Motion' d him to be silent ; vainly so, 

He look'd and look'd again a level No ! 

" A serpent ! " echoed he ; no sooner said, 

Than with a frightful scream she vanished : 

And Lycius' arms were empty of delight, 

As were his limbs of life, from that same night. 



184 LAMIA. 

On the high couch he lay ! his friends came round 
Supported hitn no pulse or breath they found, 
And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound.* 

* " Philostratus, in his fourth book, de Vita Apollonii, hath a memorable 
instance in this kind, which I may not omit, of one Menippus Lycius, a young 
man twenty-five years of age, that, going betwixt Cenchreas and Corinth, 
met such a phantasm in the habit of a fair gentlewoman, which, taking him 
by the hand, carried him home to her house, in the suburbs of Corinth, and 
told him she was a Phoenician by birth, and if he would tarry with her, he 
should hear her sing and play, and drink such wine as never any drank, 
und no man should molest him ; but she, being fair and lovely, would die 
with him, that was fair and lovely to behold. The young man, a philosopher, 
otherwise staid and discreet, able to moderate his passions, though not this 
of love, tarried with her awhile to his great content, and at last married her, 
to whose wedding, amongst other guests, came Apollonius ; who, by some 
probable conjectures, found her out to be a serpent, a lamia ; and that all her 
furniture was, like Tantalus' gold, described by Homer, no substance, but 
mere illusions. When she sa v herself descried, she wept, and desired Apollo- 
nius to bo silent, but he would not be moved, and thereupon she, plate, house, 
and all that was in it, vanished in an instant ; many thousands took notice of 
this fact, for it was done in the midst of Greece "Burton's Anatomy of 
Melancholy, Part 3, Sect. 2, Memb. I. Subs. I. 





OR THE POT OF BASIL 



A STOKY, KHOM BOCCACCIO. 



ISABELLA, Oil THE POT OF BASIL 



A STORY, FROM BOCCACCIO. 



Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel ! 

Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye ! 
They could not in the self-same mansion dwell 

Without some stir of heart, some malady ; 
They could not sit at meals but feel how w r ell 

It soothed each to be the other by ; 
They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep, 
But to each other dream, and nightly weep. 



With every morn their love grew tenderer, 
With every eve deeper and tenderer still ; 

He might not in house, field, or garden stir, 
But her full shape would all his seeing fill ; 

And his continual voice was pleasanter 
To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill ; 

Her lute-string gave an echo of his name, 

She spoilt her half-done broidery with the same. 



188 ISABELLA. 



He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch, 
Before the door had given her to his eyes ; 

And from her chamber-window he would catch 
Her beauty farther than the falcon spies ; 

And constant as her vespers would he watch, 
Because her face was turn'd to the same skies 

And with sick longing all the night outwear, 

To hear her morning-step upon the stair. 



A whole long month of May in this sad plight 
Made their cheeks paler by the break of June 

" To-morrow will I bow to my delight, 
To-morrow will I ask my lady's boon." 

" O may I never see another night, 

Lorenzo, if thy lips breathe not love's tune." 

So spake they to their pillows ; but, alas, 

Honeyless days and days did he let pass ; 



Until sweet Isabella's untouch' d cheek 
Fell sick within the rose's just domain, 

Fell thin as a young mother's, who doth seek 
By every lull to cool her infant's pain : 

11 How ill she is ! " said he, " I may not speak, 
And yet I will, and tell my love all plain : 

If looks speak love-laws, I will drink her tears, 

And at the least 'twill startle off her cares." 



ISABELLA. 



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So said he one fair morning, and all day 
His heart beat awfully against his side ; 

And to his heart he inwardly did pray 

For power to speak ; but still the ruddy tide 

Stifled his voice, and pulsed resolve away 
Fever' d his high conceit of such a bride, 

Yet brought him to the meekness of a child : 

Alas ! when passion is both meek and wild ! 



190 [SABBLLA. 



So once more he had waked and anguished 
A dreary night of love and misery, 

If Isabel's quick eye had not been wed 
To every symbol on his forehead high ; 

She saw it waxing very pale and dead, 

And straight all flush' d ; so, lisped tenderly, 

" Lorenzo ! " here she ceased her timid quest, 

But in her tone and look he read the rest. 



t; O Isabella ! I can half perceive 

That I may speak my grief into thine car; 

If thou didst ever anything believe, 

Believe how I love thee, believe how near 

My soul is to its doom : I would not grieve 

Thy hand by unwelcome pressing, would not fear 

Thine eyes by gazing; but I cannot live 

Another night, and not my passion shrive. 



" Love! thou art leading me from wintry cold, 
Lady! thou leadest me to BUtnmer clime. 

And I must taste the blossoms that untold 

In its ripe warmth this gracious morning time.*' 

So said, his ercwhile timid lips grew bold, 
And pocsied with hers in dewy rhyme: 

Great bliss was with them, and great happiness 

Grew, like a lusty flower in .Tune's caress. 



ISABELLA. 191 



Parting they seem'd to tread upon the air, 
Twin roses by the zephyr blown apart 

Only to meet again more close, and share 
The inward fragrance of each other's heart. 

She, to her, chamber gone, a ditty fair 
Sang, of delicious love and honey'd dart ; 

He with light steps went up a western hill, 

And bade the sun farewell, and joy'd his fill. 



All close they met again, before the dusk 
Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil, 

All close they met, all eves, before the dusk 
Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil, 

Close in a bower of hyacinth and musk, 

Unknown of any, free from whispering tale. 

Ah ! better had it been for ever so, 

Than idle ears should pleasure in their woe. 



"Were they unhappy then ? It cannot be 
Too many tears for lovers have been shed, 

Too many sighs give w r e to them in fee, 
Too much of pity after they are dead, 

Too many doleful stories do we see, 

Whose matter in bright gold were best be read ; 

Except in such a page where Theseus' spouse 

Over the pathless waves towards him bows. 



192 ISABELLA. 



But, for the general award of love, 

The little sweet doth kill much bitterness ; 

Though Dido silent is in under-grove, 
And Isabella's was a great distress, 

Though young Lorenzo in warm Indian clove 
Was not embalm' d, this truth is not the less 

Even bees, the little almsmen of spring-bowers, 

Know there is richest juice in poison-flowers. 



With her two brothers this fair lady dwelt, 
Enriched from ancestral merchandise, 

And for them many a weary hand did swelt 
In torched mines and noisy factories, 

And many once proud-quiver' d loins did melt 
In blood from stinging whip ; with hollow eyes 

Many all day in dazzling river stood, 

To take the rich-ored driftings of the flood. 



For them the Ceylon diver held his breath, 
And went all naked to the hungry shark ; 

1'or them his ears gush'd blood ; for them in death 
The seal on the cold ice with piteous bark 

Lay full of darts ; for them alone did seethe 
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark : 

Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel, 

That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and pool. 



ISABELLA. 193 



Why were they proud ? Because their marble founts 
Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears r 

Why were they proud ? Because fair orange-mounts 
Were of more soft ascent than lazar stairs ? 

Why were they proud ? Because red-lined accounts 
Were richer than the songs of Grecian years ? 

Why were they proud ? again we ask aloud, 

Why in the name of Glory were they proud ? 



Yet were these Florentines as self-retired 
In hungry pride and gainful cowardice, 

As two close Hebrews in that land inspired, 
Paled in and vineyarded from beggar-spies ; 

The hawks of ship-mast forests the untired 
And pannier'd mules for ducats and old lies 

Quick cat's-paws on the generous stray-away, 

Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay. 



How was it these same ledger-men could spy 

Fair Isabella in her downy nest ? 
How could they find out in Lorenzo's eye 

A straying from his toil ? Hot Egypt's pest 
Into their vision covetous and sly ! 

How could these money-bags see east and west ? 
Yet so they did and every dealer fair 
Must see behind, as doth the hunted hare. 



c c 



194 ISABELLA. 



O eloquent and famed Boccaccio ! 

Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon, 
And of thy spicy myrtles as they blow, 

And of thy roses amorous of the moon, 
And of thy lilies, that do paler grow 

Now they can no more hear thy ghittern's tune, 
For venturing syllables that ill beseem 
The quiet glooms of such a piteous theme. 



Grant thou a pardon here, and then the tale 
Shall move on soberly, as it is meet ; 

There is no other crime, no mad assail 

To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet 

But it is done succeed the verse or fail 
To honour thee, and thy gone spirit greet ; 

To stead thee as a verse in English tongue, 

An echo of thee in the north-wind suns;. 



These brethren having found by many signs 
What love Lorenzo for their sister had, 

And how she loved him too, each unconfines 
His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad 

That he, the servant of their trade designs. 

Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad, 

When 'twas their plan to coax her by degrees 

To some high noble and his olive-trees. 



ISABELLA. 195 



And many a jealous conference had they, 
And many times they bit their lips alone, 

Before they fix'd upon a surest way 

To make the youngster for his crime atoue : 

And at the last, these men of cruel clay 
Cut Mercy with a sharp knife to the bone ; 

For they resolved in some forest dim 

To kill Lorenzo, and there bury him. 



So on a pleasant morning, as he leant- 
Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade 

Of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent 
Their footing through the dews ; and to him said, 

" Tou seem there in the quiet of content, 
Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade 

Calm speculation ; but if you are wise, 

Bestride vour steed while cold is in the skies. 



" To-d;iy we purpose, ay, this hour we mount 
To spur three leagues towards the Apenniue ; 

Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count 
His dewy rosary on the eglantine." 

Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont, 

Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine ; 

And went in haste, to get in readiness, 

AVith belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress. 



196 ISABELLA. 



And as he to the court-yard pass'd along, 
Each third step did he pause, and listen' d oft 

If he could hear his lady's matin-song, 
Or the light whisper of her footstep soft ; 

And as he thus over his passion hung, 
He heard a laugh full musical aloft ; 

When, looking up, he saw her features bright 

Smile through an in-door lattice all delight. 



" Love, Isabel ! " said he, " I was in pain 

Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow : 

Ah ! what if I should lose thee, when so fain 
I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow 

Of a poor three hours' absence ? but we '11 gain 
Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow. 

Good bye ! I '11 soon be back." " Good bye ! " said she 

And as he went she chanted merrily. 



So the two brothers and their murder 'd man 
Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream 

Gurgles through straighten' d banks, and still doth fan 
Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream 

Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan 
The brothers' faces in the ford did seem, 

Lorenzo's flush with love. They pass'd the water 

Into a forest quiet for the slaughter. 



ISABELLA. 197 



There was Lorenzo slain and buried in, 

There in that forest did his great love cease ; 

Ah ! when a soul doth thus its freedom win, 
It aches in loneliness is ill at peace 

As the break-covert blood-hounds of such sin : 

They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did tease 

Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur, 

Each richer by his being a murderer. 



They told their sister how, with sudden speed, 
Lorenzo had ta'en ship for foreign lands, 

Because of some great urgency and need 
In their affairs, requiring trusty hands. 

Poor girl ! put on thy stifling widow's weed, 

And 'scape at once from Hope's accursed bands ; 

To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow, 

And the next day will be a day of sorrow. 



She weeps alone for pleasures not to be ; 

Sorely she wept until the night came on, 
And then, instead of love, O misery ! 

She brooded o'er the luxury alone : 
His image in the dusk she seem'd to see, 

And to the silence made a gentle moan, 
Spreading her perfect arms upon the air, 
And on her couch low murmuring, " Where ? where ?" 



198 ISABELLA. 



But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not lon< 
Its fiery vigil in her single breast ; 

She fretted for the golden hour, and hung 
Upon the time with feverish unrest-r- 

Not long ; for soon into her heart a throng 
Of higher occupants, a richer zest, 

Came tragic ; passion not to be subdued, 

And sorrow for her love in travels rude. 



In the mid days of autumn, on their eves 
The breath of Winter comes from far away, 

And the sick west continually bereaves 
Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay 

Of death among the bushes and the leaves, 
To make all bare' before he dares to stray 

From his north cavern, So sweet Isabel 

By gradual decay from beauty fell, 



Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes 

She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale, 
Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes 

Could keep him off so long ? They spake a t alt- 
Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes 

Came on them, like a smoke from Jlimiom's vale 
And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud, 
To see their sister in her snowy shroud. 



ISABELLA. 109 



And she had died in drowsy ignorance, 

But for a thing more deadly dark than all; 

It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance, 
Which saves a sick man from the feather' d pall 

For some few gasping moments ; like a lance, 
Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall 

With cruel pierce, and bringing him again 

Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain. 



It was a vision. In the drowsy gloom, 
The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot 

Lorenzo stood, and wept : the forest tomb 

Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could shoot 

Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom 
Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute 

From his lorn voice, and past his loamed ears 

Had made a miry channel for his tears. 



Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake 
For there was striving, in its piteous tongue, 

To speak as when on earth it was awake, 
And Isabella on its music hung: 

Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake, 
As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung ; 

And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song, 

Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briars among. 



200 ISABELLA. 



Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright 
With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof 

From the poor girl by magic of their light, 
The while it did unthread the horrid woof 

Of the late darken'd time the murderous spite 
Of pride and avarice the dark pine roof 

In the forest and the sodden turfed dell, 

Where, without any word, from stabs he fell. 




Saying moreover, " Isabel, my sweet ! 

Red whortle-berries droop above my head, 
And a large flint-stone weighs upon my feet ; 

Around me beeches and high chestnuts shed 
Their leaves and prickly nuts ; a sheep-fold bleat 

Comes from beyond the river to my bed : 
Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom, 
And it shall comfort me within the tomb. 




" I am a shadow now, alas ! alas ! 

Upon the skirts of human nature dwelling 
Alone : I chant alone the holy mass, 

While little sounds of life are round me knelling, 
And glossy bees at noon do fieldward pass, 

And many a chapel bell the hour is telling, 
Paining me through : those sounds grow strange to me, 
And thou art distant in Humanity. 



" I know what was, I feel full well what is, 
And I should rage, if spirits could go mad ; 

Though I forget the taste of earthly bliss, 

That paleness warms my grave, as though I had 

A seraph chosen from the bright abyss 

To be my spouse : thy paleness makes me glad : 

Thy beauty grows upon me, and I feel 

A greater love through all my essence steal." 



202 ISABELLA. 



The Spirit mourn* d " Adieu! " dissolved, and left 
The atom darkness in a slow turmoil ; 

A s when of healthful midnight sleep hereft, 
Thinking on rugged hours and fruitless toil, 

We put our eyes into a pillowy cleft, 

And see the spangly gloom froth up and boil : 

It made sad Isabella's eyelids ache, 

And in the dawn she started up awake ; 



" Ha ! ha !" said she, " I knew not this hard life, 
I thought the worst was simple misery ; 

I thought some Fate with pleasure or with strife 
Portion'd us happy days, or else to die ; 

But there is crime a brother's bloody knife ! 
Sweet Spirit, thou hast school'd my infancy : 

I'll visit thee for this, and kiss thine eyes, 

And greet thee morn and even in the skies." 



When the full morning came, she had devised 
How she might secret to the forest hie ; 

How she might find the clay, so dearly prized, 
And sing to it one latest lullaby ; 

How her short absence might be unsurmised, 
While she the inmost of the dream would try. 

Resolved, she took with her an aged nurse, 

And went into that dismal forest-hearse. 



ISABELLA. 203 



See, as they creep along the river side, 
How she doth whisper to that aged daine, 

And, after looking round the champaign wide, 
Shows her a knife. " What feverous hectic flame 

Burns in thee, child ? what good can thee betide 

That thou shouldst smile again ?" The evening came, 

And they had found Lorenzo's earthy bed ; 

The flint was there, the berries at his head. 



Who hath not loiter' d in a green church-yard, 
And let his spirit, like a demon mole, 

Work through the clayey soil and gravel hard, 
To see skull, coffin' d bones, and funeral stole ; 

Pitying each form that hungry Death hath marr'd, 
And filling it once more with human soul ? 

Ah ! this is holiday to what was felt 

When Isabella by Lorenzo knelt. 



She gazed into the fresh-thrown mould, as though 
One glance did fully all its secrets tell ; 

Clearly she saw, as other eyes would know 
Pale limbs at bottom of a crystal well ; 

Upon the murderous spot she seem'd to grow, 
Like to a native lily of the dell : 

Then with her knife, all sudden she began 

To dig more fervently than misers can. 



204 ISABELLA. 



Soon she turn'd up a soiled glove, whereon 
Her silk had play'd in purple phantasies ; 

She kiss'd it with a lip more chill than stone, 
And put it in her bosom, where it dries 

And freezes utterly unto the bone 

Those dainties made to still an infant's cries : 

Then 'gan she work again ; nor stay'd her care, 

But to throw back at times her veiling hair. 



That old nurse stood beside her wondering, 
Until her heart felt pity to the core 

At sight of such a dismal labouring, 

And so she kneeled, with her locks all hoar, 

And put her lean hands to the horrid thing : 
Three hours they labour' d at this travail sore ; 

At last they felt the kernel of the grave, 

And Isabella did not stamp and rave. 



Ah ! wherefore all this wormy circumstance ? 

Why linger at the yawning tomb so long ? 
O for the gentleness of old Romance, 

The simple plaining of a minstrel's song ! 
Fair reader, at the old tale take a glance, 

For here, in truth, it doth not well belong 
To speak : turn thee to the very tale, 
And taste the music of that vision pale, 



ISABELLA. 



205 




With duller steel than the Persean sword 
They cut away no formless monster's head, 

But one, whose gentleness did well accord 

"With death, as life. The ancient harps have said, 

Love never dies, but lives, immortal Lord : 
If Love impersonate was ever dead, 

Pale Isabella kiss'd it, and low moan'd. 

'Twas love ; cold, dead indeed, but not dethroned. 



In anxious secrecy they took it home, 
And then the prize was all for Isabel : 

She calm'd its wild hair with a golden comb, 
And all around each eye's sepulchral cell 

Pointed each fringed lash ; the smeared loam 
With tears, as chilly as a dripping well, 

She drench'd away : and still she comb'd and kept 

Sighing all day and still she kiss'd and wept. 



206 ISABELLA. 



Then in a silken scarf, sweet with the dews 
Of precious flowers pluck'd in Araby, 

And divine liquids come with odorous ooze 
Through the cold serpent-pipe refreshfully, 

She wrapp'd it up ; and for its tomb did choose 
A garden-pot, wherein she laid it by, 

And cover' d it with mould, and o'er it set 

Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet. 



And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun, 
And she forgot the blue above the trees, 

And she forgot the dells where waters run, 
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze ; 

She had no knowledge when the day was done, 
And the new morn she saw not : but in peace 

Hung over her sweet Basil evermore, 

And moisten'd it with tears unto the core. 



And so she ever fed it with thin ten is. 

Whence thick, and green, and beautiful it grew, 
So that it smelt more balmy than its peers 

Of Basil-tufts in Florence ; for it drew 
Nurture besides, and life, from human fears, 

From the fast mouldering head there shut from view 
So that the jewel, safely casketed, 
Came forth, and in perfumed leaflets spread. 



ISABELLA. 207 



O Melancholy, linger here awhile ! 

O Music, Music, breathe despondingly ! 
Echo, Echo, from some sombre isle, 

Unknown, Lethean, sigh to us O sigh ! 
Spirits in grief, lift up your heads, and smile ; 

Lift up your heads, sweet Spirits, heavily, 
And make a pale light in your cypress glooms, 
Tinting with silver wan your marble tombs. 



Moan hither, all ye syllables of woe, 

From the deep throat of sad Melpomene ! 

Through bronzed lyre in tragic order go, 
And touch the strings into a mystery ; 

Sound mournfully upon the winds and low ; 
For simple Isabel is soon to be 

Among the dead : She withers, like a palm 

Cut by an Indian for its juicy balm. 



O leave the palm to wither by itself; 

Let not quick Winter chill its dying hour ! - 
It may not be those Baalites of pelf, 

Her brethren, noted the continual shower 
From her dead eyes ; and many a curious elf, 

Among her kindred, wonder'd that such dower 
Of youth and beauty should be thrown aside 
By one mark'd out to be a Noble's bride. 



208 ISABELLA. 



And, furthermore, her brethren wonder'd mucli 
Why she sat drooping by the Basil green, 

And why it flourish'd, as by magic touch ; 

Greatly they wonder'd what the thing might mean i 

They could not surely give belief, that such 
A very nothing would have power to wean 

Her from her own fair youth, and pleasures gay, 

And even remembrance of her love's delay. 



Therefore they watch' d a time when they might sift 
This hidden whim ; and long they watch'd in vain ; 

For seldom did she go to chapel-shrift, 
And seldom felt she any hunger-pain : 

And when she left, she hurried back, as swift 
As bird on wing to breast its eggs again : 

And, patient as a hen-bird, sat her there 

Beside her Basil, weeping through her hair. 



Yet they contrived to steal the Basil-pot, 
And to examine it in secret place : 

The thing was vile with green and livid spot, 
And yet they knew it was Lorenzo's face i 

The guerdon of their murder they had got, 
And so left Florence in a moment's space, 

Never to turn again. Away they went, 

With blood upon their heads, to banishment. 



ISABELLA. 




O Melancholy, turn thine eyes away ! 

O Music, Music, breathe despondingly ! 
O Echo, Echo, on some other day, 

From isles Lethean, sigh to us O sigh ! 
Spirits of grief, sing not your " Well-a-way ! " 

For Isabel, sweet Isabel, will die ; 
Will die a death too lone and incomplete, 
Now they have ta'en away her Basil sweet. 



210 ISABELLA. 



Piteous she look'd on dead and senseless things, 
Asking for her lost Basil amorously: 

And with melodious chuckle in the strings 
Of her lorn voice, she oftentimes would cry 

After the Pilgrim in his wanderings, 

To ask him where her Basil was ; and why 

'Twas hid from her : " For cruel 'tis," said she, 

" To steal my Basil-pot away from me." 



And so she pined, and so she died forlorn, 

Imploring for her Basil to the last. 
No heart was there in Florence but did mourn 

In pity of her love, so overcast. 
And a sad ditty of this story borne 

From mouth to mouth through all the country passM 
Still is the burthen sung " O cruelty, 
To steal my Basil-pot away from me ! " 



d23& 





THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



St. Agnes' Eye Ah, bitter chill it was ! 
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold ; 
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass, 
And silent was the flock in woolly fold : 
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers while he told 
His rosary, and while his frosted breath, 
Like pious incense from a censer old, 
Seem'd taking flight for heaven without a death, 
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith. 



His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man ; 
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees, 
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan, 
Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees : 
The sculptured dead, on each side seem to freeze, 
Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails : 
Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries, 
He passeth by ; and his weak spirit fails 
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails. 



2U THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



Northward he turueth through a little door, 
Aud scarce three steps, ere Music's golden tongue 
Flatter' d to tears this aged man and poor ; 
But no already had his death-bell rung ; 
The joys of all his life were said and sung : 
His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve : 
Another way he went, and soon among 
Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve, 
And all night kept awake, for sinner's sake to grieve. 



That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft ; 

And so it chanced, for many a door was wide, 

From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft, 

The silver, snarling trumpets 'gau to chide : 

The level chambers, ready with their pride, 

Were glowing to receive a thousand guests : 

The carved angels, ever eager-eyed, 

Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests, 

With hair 'blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their 

breasts. 

v. 

At length burst in the argent revelry, 

With plume, tiara, and all rich array, 

Numerous as shadows haunting fairily 

The brain, new-stuffd, in youth, with triumphs gay 

Of old romance. These let us wish away, 

And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there, 

Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day, 

On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care, 

As she had heard old dames full many times declare. 



THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 215 



They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve, 
Young virgins might have visions of delight, 
And soft adorings from their loves receive 
Upon the honey'd middle of the night, 
If ceremonies due they did aright ; 
As, supperless to bed they must retire, 
And couch supine their beauties, lily white ; 
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require 
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire. 



Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline : 
The music, yearning like a God in pain, 
She scarcely heard : her maiden eyes divine, 
Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train 
Pass by she heeded not at all : in vain 
Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier, 
And back retired ; not cool'd by high disdain, 
But she saw not : her heart was otherwhere ; 
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year 



She danced along with vague, regardless eyes, 
Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short : 
The hallow'd hour was near at hand : she sighs 
Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort 
Of whisperers in anger, or in sport ; 
'Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn, 
Hoodwiuk'd with faery fancy; all amort, 
Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn, 
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn. 



216 THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



So, purposing each moment to retire, 

She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors, 

Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire 

For Madeline. Beside the portal doors, 

Buttress'd from moonlight, stands he, and implores 

All saints to give him sight of Madeline, 

But for one moment in the tedious hours, 

That he might gaze and worship all unseen ; 

Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss in sooth such things 

have been. 

x. 

He ventures in : let no buzz'd whisper tell : 
All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords 
Will storm his heart, Love's feverous citadel : 
For him, those chambers held barbarian horde*, 
Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords, 
Whose very dogs would execrations howl 
Against his lineage : not one breast affords 
Him any mercy, in that mansion foul, 
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul. 



Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came, 
Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand, 
To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame, 
Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond 
The sound of merriment and chorus bland : 
He startled her ; but soon she knew his face, 
And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand, 
Saying, " Mercy, Porphyro ! hie thee from this place ; 
They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race ! 



THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



217 



" Get hence ! get hence ! there's dwarfish Hildebrand ; 
He had a fever late, and in the fit 
He cursed thee and thine, both house and land : 
Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit 
More tame for his grey hairs Alas me ! flit ! 
Flit like a ghost away." u Ah, Gossip dear; 
We're safe enough ; here in this arm-chair sit, 
And tell me how " " Good Saints ! not here, not here 
Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier." 




218 THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



He follow' d through a lowly arched way, 
Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume ; 
And as she mutter'd " Well-a well-a-day !" 
He found him in a little moonlight room, 
Pale, latticed, chill, and silent as a tomb. 
"Now tell -me where is Madeline," said he, 
" O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom 
Which none but secret sisterhood may see, 
When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously." 

XIV. 

" St. Agnes ! Ah ! it is St. Agnes' Eve- 
Yet men will murder upon holy days : 
Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve, 
And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays, 
To venture so : it fills me with amaze 
To see thee, Porphyro ! St. Agnes' Eve ! 
God's help ! my lady fair the conjuror plays 
This very night : good angels her deceive ! 
But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve." 



Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon, 
While Porphyro upon her face dotli look, 
Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone 
Who keepeth closed a wondrous riddle-book, 
As spectacled she sits in chimney nook. 
But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told 
His lady's purpose ; and he scarce could brook 
Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold, 
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old. 






THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 219 

xvr. 
Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose, 
Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart 
Made purple riot : then doth he propose 
A stratagem, that makes the beldame start : 
" A cruel man and impious thou art : 
Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep and dream 
Alone with her good angels, far apart 
From wicked men like thee. Go, Go ! I deem 
Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem." 



" I will not harm her, by all saints I swear," 
Quoth Porphyro : " O may I ne'er find grace 
When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer, 
If one of her soft ringlets I displace, 
Or look with ruffian passion in her face ; 
Good Angela, believe me by these tears ; 
Or I will, even in a moment's space, 
Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen's ears, 
And beard them, though they be more fang'd than wolves and 
bears." 

XVIII. 

" Ah ! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul ? 
A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing, 
Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll ; 
Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening, 
Were never miss'd." Thus plaining, doth she bring 
A gentler speech from burning Porphyro ; 
So woeful, and of such deep sorrowing, 
That Angela gives promise she will do 
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe. 



220 THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy, 
Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide 
Him in a closet, of such privacy 
That he might see her beauty unespied, 
And win perhaps that night a peerless bride, 
While legion'd fairies paced the coverlet, 
And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed. 
Never on such a night have lovers met, 
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt. 

XX. 

" It shall be as thou wishest," said the Dame : 
" All cates and dainties shall be stored there 
Quickly on this feast-night : by the tambour frame 
Her own lute thou wilt see : no time to spare, 
For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare 
On such a catering trust my dizzy head. 
Wait here, my child, with patience kneel in prayer 
The while : Ah ! thou must needs the lady wed, 
Or may I never leave my grave among the dead." 

XXI. 

So saying she hobbled oft* with busy fear. 
The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd ; 
The Dame retum'd, and whisper'd in his ear 
To follow her ; with aged eyes aghast 
From fright of dim espial. Safe at last, 
Through many a dusky gallery, they gain 
The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste ; 
Where Porphyro took covert, pleased amain. 
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain. 



THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 221 



Her faltering band upon the balustrade, 
Old Angela was feeling for tbe stair, 
When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid, 
Eose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware : 
With silver taper's light, and pious care, 
She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led 
To a safe level matting. Now prepare, 
Young Porphyro, for gazing oii that bed ; 
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled. 



Out went the taper as she hurried in ; 
Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died : 
She closed the door, she panted, all akin 
To spirits of the air, and visions wide : 
No utter' d syllable, or, woe betide ! 
But to her heart, her heart was voluble, 
Paining with eloquence her balmy side ; 
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell 
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell. 



A casement high and triple-arch'd there was, 
All garlanded with carven imageries 
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, 
And diamonded with panes of quaint device, 
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes, 
As are the tiger-moth's deep- damask' d wings ; 
And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries, 
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, 
A shielded scutcheon blush' d with blood of queens and kings. 



222 THE EVE OF ST. AGNBS, 



Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, 
And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, 
As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon ; 
Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, 
And on her silver cross soft amethyst, 
And on her hair a glory, like a saint : 
She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest, 
Save wiugs, for heaven : Porphyro grew faint : 
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint. 



Anon his heart revives : her vespers done, 
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees ; 
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one ; 
Loosens her fragrant bodice ; by degrees 
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees i 
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea- weed, 
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees, 
In fancy, fair St. A gnes in her bed, 
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fit 



Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest, 
In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay, 
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd 
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away ; 
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day ; 
Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain ; 
Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray ; 
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain, 
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again. 






THE EYE OF ST. AGNES. 



223 



Stolen to this paradise, and so entranced, 
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, 
And listen' d to her breathing, if it chanced 
To wake into a slumberous tenderness ; 
Which when he heard, that minute did he bless, 
And breathed himself : then from the closet crept, 
Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness 
And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept, 
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo! how fast she 
slept. 




224 THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon 
Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set 
A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon 
A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet : 
O for some drowsy Morphean amulet ! 
The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion, 
The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet, 
Affray his ears, though but in dying tone : 
The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone. 



And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep, 
In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender' d, 
While he from forth the closet brought a heap 
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd ; 
With jellies soother than the creamy curd, 
And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon ; 
Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd 
From Fez ; and spiced dainties, every one, 
From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon. 



These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand 
On golden dishes and in baskets bright 
Of wreathed silver : sumptuous they stand 
In the retired quiet of the night, 
Filling the chilly room with perfume light. 
" And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake ! 
Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite : 
Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake, 
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache. 



THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 225 



Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm 
Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream 
By the dusk curtains: 'twas a midnight charm 
Impossible to melt as iced stream : 
The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam ; 
Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies : 
It seem'd he never, never could redeem 
From such a steadfast spell his lady's eyes ; 
So mused awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies. 



Awakening up, he took her hollow lute, 
Tumultuous, and, in chords that tenderest be, 
He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute, 
In Provence call'd " La belle dame sans mercy: " 
Close to her ear touching the melody ; 
Wherewith disturb' d, she utter' d a soft moan : 
He ceased she panted quick and suddenly 
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone : 
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone. 



Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, 
Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep : 
There was a painful change, that nigh expell'd 
The blisses of her dream so pure and deep. 
At which fair Madeline began to weep, 
And moan forth witless words with many a sigh ; 
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep ; 
Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye, 
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly. 



226 THE EVE OF ST. AGNKS. 



" Ah, Porphyro ! " said she, " but even now 
Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear, 
Made tuneable with every sweetest vow ; 
And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear : 
How changed thou art ! how pallid, chill, and drear ! 
Give me that voice again, my Porphyro, 
Those looks immortal, those complainings dear ! 
Oh leave me not in this eternal woe, 
For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go." 



Beyond a mortal man impassion' d far 
At these voluptuous accents, he arose, 
Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star 
Seen 'mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose ; 
Into her dream he melted, as the rose 
Blendeth its odour with the violet, 
Solution sweet : meantime the frost-wind blows 
Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet 
Against the window-panes ; St. Agnes' moon hath set. 



'Tis dark : quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet 
" This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline ! " 
'Tis dark : the iced gusts still rave and beat : 
" No dream, alas ! alas ! and woe is mine ! 
Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine. 
Cruel ! what traitor could thee hither brin^ ? 
I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine, 
Though thou forsakest a deceived thing ; 
A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing.' 






THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 227 



" My Madeline ! sweet dreamer ! lovely bride ! 
Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest ? 
Thy beauty's shield, heart-shaped and vermeil dyed ? 
Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest 
After so many hours of toil and quest,. 
A famish'd pilgrim, saved by miracle. 
Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest 
Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think' st well 
To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel." 



" Hark ! 'tis an elfin storm from faery land, 
Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed : 
Arise arise ! the morning is at hand ; 
The bloated wassailers will never heed : 
Let us away, my love, with happy speed ; 
There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see, 
Drown' d all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead : 
Awake ! arise ! my love, and fearless be, 
For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee. 



She hurried at his words, beset with fears, 
For there were sleeping dragons all around, 
At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears 
Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found, 
In all the house was heard no human sound. 
A chain-droop' d lamp was flickering by each door ; 
The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound, 
Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar ; 
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor. 



228 



THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 



They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall ! 
Like phantoms to the iron porch they glide, 
Where lay the Porter, in nneasy sprawl, 
With a huge empty flagon by his side : 
The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide, 
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns : 
By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide : 
The chains lie silent on the footworn stones ; 
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans. 




THE EVE OF ST. AGNES. 229 



And they are gone : ay, ages long ago 
These lovers fled away into the storm. 
That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe, 
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form 
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin- worm, 
Were long be-nightmared. Angela the old 
Died palsy- twitch' d, with meagre face deform ; 
The Beadsman, after thousand aves told, 
For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes clod. 





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HYPERION. 


BOOK I. 


Deep in the shady sadness of a vale 


Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, 


Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star, 


Sat grey-hair' d Saturn, quiet as a stone, 



234 HYPERION. 

Still as the silence round about his lair ; 
Forest on forest hung about his head 
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there, 
Not so much life as on a summer's day- 
Robs not one light seed from the feather' d grass, 
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest. 
A stream went voiceless by, still deaden' d more 
By reason of his fallen divinity 
Spreading a shade : the Naiad 'mid her reeds 
Press'd her cold finger closer to her lips. 

Along the margin-sand large foot-marks went, 
No further than to where his feet had stray 'd, 
And slept there since. Upon the sodden ground 
His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead, 
Unsceptred ; and his realmless eyes were closed ; 
While his bow'd head seem'd listening to the Earth, 
His ancient mother, for some comfort yet. 

It seem'd no force could wake him from his place 
But there came one, who with a kindred hand 
Touch' d his wide shoulders, after bending low 
With reverence, though to one who knew it not. 
She was a Goddess of the infant world ; 
By her in stature the tall Amazon 
Had stood a pigmy's height : she would have taYn 
Achilles by the hair and bent his neck ; 
Or with a finger stay'd Ixion's wheel. 
Her face was large as that of Memphian sphinx, 
Pedestal'd haply in a palace-court, 
When sages look'd to Egypt for their lore. 
But oh ! how unlike marble was that face ! 



HYPERION. 235 

How beautiful, if sorrow had not made 

Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty's self. 

There was a listening fear in her regard, 

As if calamity had but begun ; 

As if the vanward clouds of evil days 

Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear 

"Was Avith its stored thunder labouring up. 

One hand she press' d upon that aching spot 

Where beats the human heart, as if just there, 

Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain : 

The other upon Saturn's bended neck 

She laid, and to the level of his ear 

Leaning with parted lips, some words she spake 

In solemn tenour and deep organ tone : 

Some mourning words, which in our feeble tongue 

Would come in these like accents ; O how frail 

To that large utterance of the early Gods ! 

" Saturn, look up ! though wherefore, poor old King ? 

I have no comfort for thee, no not one : 

I cannot say, ' O wherefore sleepest thou ? ' 

For heaven is parted from thee, and the earth 

Knows thee not, thus afflicted, for a God ; 

And ocean too, with all its solemn noise, 

Has from thy sceptre pass'd ; and all the air 

Is emptied of thine hoary majesty. 

Thy thunder, conscious of the new command, 

Eumbles reluctant o'er our fallen house ; 

And thy sharp lightning in unpractised hands 

Scorches and burns our once serene domain. 

O aching time ! O moments big as years ! 

All as ye pass swell out the monstrous truth, 

And press it so upon our weary griefs 



236 HYPERION. 

That unbelief has not a space to breathe. 
Saturn, sleep on : thoughtless, why did I 
Thus violate thy slumbrous solitude ? 
Why should I ope thy melancholy eyes ? 
Saturn, sleep on ! while at thy feet I weep." 

As when, upon a tranced summer-night, 
Those green-robed senators of mighty woods, 
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars, 
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir, 
Save from one gradual solitary gust 
Which comes upon the silence, and dies off, 
As if the ebbing air had but one wave : 
So came these words and went ; the while in tears 
She touch' d her fair large forehead to the ground, 
Just where her falling hair might be outspread 
A soft and silken mat for Saturn's feet. 
One moon, with alteration slow, had shed 
Her silver seasons four upon the night, 
And still these two were postured motionless, 
Like natural sculpture in cathedral cavern ; 
The frozen God still couchant on the earth, 
And the sad Goddess weeping at his feet : 
Until at length old Saturn lifted up 
His faded eyes, and saw his kingdom gone, 
And all the gloom and sorrow of the place, 
And that fair kneeling Goddess ; and then spake 
As with a palsied tongue, and while his beard 
Shook horrid with such aspen-malady \ 
" O tender spouse of gold Hyperion, 
Thea, I feel thee ere I see thy face ; 
Look up, and let me see our doom in it ; 



HYPERION. 

Look up, and tell me if this feeble shape 

Is Saturn's ; tell me, if thou hear'st the voice 

Of Saturn ; tell me, if this wrinkling brow, 

Naked and bare of its great diadem, 

Peers like the front of Saturn. Who had power 

To make me desolate ? whence came the strength ? 



237 




How was it nurtured to such bursting forth, 

"While Fate seem'd strangled in my nervous grasp ? 

But it is so ; and I am smother' d up, 

And buried from all godlike exercise 

Of influence benign on planets pale, 

Of admonitions to the winds and seas, 

Of peaceful sway above man's harvesting, 

And all those acts which Deity supreme 

Doth ease its heart of love in. I am gone 



238 HYPERION. 

Away from my own bosom : I have left 

My strong identity, my real self, 

Somewhere between the throne, and where I sit 

Here on this spot of earth. Search, Thea, searcli ! 

Open thine eyes eterne, and sphere them round 

Upon all space : space starr'd, and lorn of light : 

Space region' d with life-air, and barren void; 

Spaces of fire, and all the yawn of hell. 

Search, Thea, search ! and tell me if thou seest 

A certain shape or shadow, making way 

With wings or chariot fierce to repossess 

A heaven he lost erewhile : it must it must 

Be of ripe progress Saturn must be king. 

Yes, there must be a golden victory ; 

There must be Gods thrown down, and trumpets blown 

Of triumph calm, and hymns of festival 

Upon the gold clouds metropolitan, 

Voices of soft proclaim, and silver stir 

Of strings in hollow shells ; and there shall be 

Beautiful things made new, for the surprise 

Of the sky-children ; I will give command : 

Thea! Thea ! Thea ! where is Saturn ?" 

This passion lifted him upon his feet, 
And made his hands to struggle in the air, 
His Druid locks to shake and ooze with sweat, 
His eyes to fever out, his voice to cease. 
He stood, and heard not Tliea's sobbing deep ; 
A little time, and then again he snatch'd 
Utterance thus : " But cannot I create ? 
Cannot I form ? Cannot I fashion forth 
Another world, another universe, 



HYPERION. 

To overbear and crumble this to nought ? 

Where is another chaos ? Where ?" That word 

Found way unto Olympus, and made quake 

The rebel three. Thea was startled up, 

And in her bearing was a sort of hope, 

As thus she quick- voiced spake, yet full of awe. 



239 




" This cheers our fallen house : come to our friends, 

Saturn ! come away, and give them heart ; 

1 know the covert, for thence came I hither." 
Thus brief ; then with beseeching eyes she went 
With backward footing through the shade a space : 
He follow' d, and she turn'd to lead the way 



240 HYPERION. 

Through aged boughs, that yielded like the mist 
"Which eagles cleave, upmounting from their nest. 

Meanwhile in other realms big tears were shed, 
More sorrow like to this, and such like woe, 
Too huge for mortal tongue or pen of scribe : 
The Titans fierce, self-hid, or prison-bound, 
Groan'd for the old allegiance once more, 
And listen' d in sharp pain for Saturn's voice. 
But one of the whole mammoth-brood still kept 
His sovereignty, and rule, and majesty ; 
Blazing Hyperion on his orbed fire 
Still sat, still snuff'd the incense, teeming up 
From man to the sun's God, yet unsecure : 
For as among us mortals omens drear 
Fright and perplex, so also shudder'd he, 
Not at dog's howl, or gloom-bird's hated screech, 
Or the familiar visiting of one 
Upon the first toll of his passing-bell, 
Or prophesyings of the midnight lamp ; 
But horrors, portion'd to a giant nerve, 
Oft made Hyperion ache. His palace bright, 
Bastion'd with pyramids of glowing gold, 
And touch'd with shade of bronzed obelisks, 
Glared a blood-red through all its thousand courts, 
Arches, and domes, and fiery galleries ; 
And all its curtains of Aurorian clouds 
Flush'd angerly : while sometimes eagles' wings, 
Unseen before by Gods or wondering men, 
Darken'd the place ; and neighing steeds were heard, 
Not heard before by Gods or wondering men. 
Also, when he would taste the spicy wreaths 



HYPERION.. 241 

Of incense, breathed aloft from sacred hills, 

Instead of sweets, his ample palate took 

Savour of poisonous brass and metal sick : 

And so, when harbour' d in the sleepy west, 

After the full completion of fair day, 

For rest divine upon exalted couch, 

And slumber in the arms of melody, 

He paced away the pleasant hours of ease 

With stride colossal, on from hall to hall ; 

While far within each aisle and deep recess. 

His winged minions in close clusters stood, 

Amazed and full of fear ; like anxious men 

Who on wide plains gather in panting troops, 

When earthquakes jar their battlements and towers. 

Even now, while Saturn, roused from icy trance, 

Went step for step with Thea through the woods, 

Hyperion, leaving twilight in the rear, 

Came slope upon the threshold of the west ; 

Then, as was wont, his palace-door flew ope 

In smoothed silence, save what solemn tubes, 

Blown by the serious Zephyrs, gave of sweet 

And wandering sounds, slow-breathed melodies ; 

And like a rose in vermeil tint and shape, 

In fragrance soft, and coolness to the eye, 

That inlet to severe magnificence 

Stood full blown, for the God to enter in. 

He enter' d, but he enter'd full of wrath ; 
His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels, 
And gave a roar, as if of earthly fire, 
That scared away the meek ethereal Hours 
And made their dove-wings tremble. On he flared. 



242 HYPERION. 

From stately nave to nave, from vault to vault, 
Through bowers of fragrant and enwreathed light, 
And diamond-paved lustrous long arcades, 
Until he reach' d the great main cupola ; 
There standing fierce beneath, he stampt his foot, 
And from the basements deep to the high towers 
Jarr'd his own golden region ; and before 
The quavering thunder thereupon had ceased, 
His voice leapt out, despite of godlike curb, 
To this result : " O dreams of day and night ! 
O monstrous forms ! O effigies of pain ! 
spectres busy in a cold, cold gloom ! 

lank-ear' d Phantoms of black- w r eeded pools ! 
Why do I know ye ? why have I seen ye ? why 
Is my eternal essence thus distraught 

To see and to behold these horrors new ? 
Saturn is fallen, am I too to fall ? 
Am I to leave this haven of my rest, 
This cradle of my glory, this soft clime, 
This calm luxuriance of blissful light, 
These crystalline pavilions, and pure fanes, 
Of all my lucent empire ? It is left 
Deserted, void, nor any haunt of mine. 
The blaze, the splendour, and the symmetry, 

1 cannot see but darkness, death and darkness. 
Even here, into my centre of repose, 

The shady visions come to domineer, 

Insult, and blind, and stifle up my pomp 

Fall! No, by Tell us and her briny robes ! 

Over the fiery frontier of my realms 

I will advance a terrible right arm 

Shall scare that infant thunderer, rebel Jove, 



HYPERION. 



243 




And bid old Saturn take his throne again." 

He spake, and ceased, the while a heavier threat 

Held struggle with his throat, but came not forth ; 

For as in theatres of crowded men 

Hubbub increases more they call out " Hush!" 



2U HYPERION. 

So at Hyperion's words the Phantoms pale 

Bestirr'd themselves, thrice horrible and cold ; 

And from the mirror' d level where he stood 

A mist arose, as from a scummy marsh. 

At this, througli all his bulk an agony 

Crept gradual, from the feet unto the crown, 

Like a lithe serpent vast and muscular 

Making slow way, with head and neck convulsed 

Erom over-strained might. Released, he fled 

To the eastern gates, and full six dewy hours 

Before the dawn in season due should blush, 

He breathed fierce breath against the sleepy portals, 

Clear'd them of heavy vapours, burst them wide 

Suddenly on the ocean's chilly streams. 

The planet orb of fire, whereon he rode 

Each day from east to west the heavens througli, 

Spun round in sable curtaining of clouds ; 

Not therefore veiled quite, blindfold, and hid, 

But ever and anon the glancing spheres, 

Circles, and arcs, and broad-belting colure, 

Glow'd through, and wrought upon the muffling dark 

Sweet-shaped lightnings from the nadir deep 

Up to the zenith hieroglyphics old, 

Which sages and keen-eyed astrologers 

Then living on the earth, with labouring thought 

Won from the gaze of many centuries : 

Now lost, save what we find on remnants huge 

Of stone, or marble swart ; their import gone, 

Their wisdom long since fled. Two wings this orb 

Possess'd for glory, two fair argent wings, 

Ever exalted at the God's approach : 

And now, from forth the gloom their plumes immense 



HYPERION. 245 

Kose, one by one, till all outspreaded were ; 
"While still the dazzling globe maintain'd eclipse, 
Awaiting for Hyperion's command. 
Fain would he have commanded, fain took throne 
And bid the day begin, if but for change. 
He might not : No, though a primeval God : 
The sacred seasons might not be disturb' d. 
Therefore the operations of the dawn 
Stay'd in their birth, even as here 'tis told. 
Those silver wings expanded sisterly, 
Eager to sail their orb ; the porches wide 
Open'd upon the dusk demesnes of night ; 
And the bright Titan, frenzied with new woes, 
Unused to bend, by hard compulsion bent 
His spirit to the sorrow of the time ; 
And all along a dismal rack of clouds, 
Upon the boundaries of day and night, 
He stretch'd himself in grief and radiance faint. 
There as he lay, the Heaven with its stars 
Look'd down on him with pity, and the voice 
Of Coelus, from the universal space, 
Thus whisper'd low and solemn in his ear: 
" O brightest of my children dear, earth-born 
And sky-engender' d, Son of Mysteries ! 
All unrevealed even to the powers 
Which met at thy creating ! at whose joys 
And palpitations sweet, and pleasures soft, 
I, Coelus, wonder how they came and whence ; 
And at the fruits thereof what shapes they be, 
Distinct, and visible ; symbols divine, 
Manifestations of that beauteous life 
Diffused unseen throughout eternal space ; 



246 HYPERION. 

Of these new-form'd art thou, oli brightest child ! 
Of these, thy brethren and the Goddesses ! 
There is sad feud among ye, and rebellion 
Of son against his sire. I saw him fall, 




I saw my firstborn tumbled from his throne ! 

To me his arms were spread, to me his voice 

Found way from forth the thunders round his head ! 

Pale wox I, and in vapours hid my face. 

Art thou, too, near such doom ? vague fear there is i 



HYPERION. 247 

For I have seen my sous most unlike Gods. 

Divine ye were created, and divine 

In sad demeanour, solemn, undisturb'd, 

Unruffled, like high Gods, ye lived and ruled : 

Now I behold in you fear, hope, and wrath ; 

Actions of rage and passion ; even as 

I see them, on the mortal world beneath, 

In men who die. This is the grief, O Son ! 

Sad sign of ruin, sudden dismay, and fall ! 

Yet do thou strive ; as thou art capable, 

As thou canst move about, an evident God, 

And canst oppose to each malignant hour 

Ethereal presence : I am but a voice ; 

My life is but the life of winds and tides, 

No more than winds and tides can I avail : 

But thou canst. Be thou therefore in the van 

Of circumstance ; yea, seize the arrow's barb 

Before the tense string murmur. To the earth ! 

For there thou wilt find Saturn, and his woes. 

Meantime I will keep watch on thy bright sun, 

And of thy seasons be a careful nurse." 

Ere half this region-whisper had come down 

Hyperion arose, and on the stars 

Lifted his curved lids, and kept them wide 

Until it ceased ; and still he kept them wide : 

And still they were the same bright, patient stars. 

Then with a slow incline of his broad breast, 

Like to a diver in the pearly seas, 

Forward he stoop' d over the airy shore, 

And plunged all noiseless into the deep night. 




BOOK II. 




BOOK II. 

Just at the self-same beat of Time's wide wings 
Hyperion slid into the rustled air, 
And Saturn gain'd with Thea that sad place 
Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn'd. 




252 HYPERION. 

It was a den where no insulting light 

Could glimmer on their tears ; where their own groans 

They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar 

Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse, 

Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where. 

Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem'd 

Ever as if just rising from a sleep, 

Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns ; 

And thus in thousand hugest phantasies 

Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe. 

Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon, 

Couches of rugged stone, and slaty ridge 

Stubborn' d with iron. All were not assembled : 

Some chain'd in torture, and some wandering. 

Cceus, and Gyges, and Briareiis, 

Typhon, and Dolor, and Porphyrion, 

"With many more, the brawniest in assault, 

"Were pent in regions of laborious breath ; 

Dungeon'd in opaque element to keep 

Their clenched teeth still clench'd, and all their limbs 

Locked up like veins of metal, cramped and screwed ; 

"Without a motion, save of their big hearts 

Heaving in pain, and horribly convulsed 

With sanguine, feverous, boiling gurge of pulse. 

Mnemosyne was straying in the world ; 

Far from her moon had Phoebe wandered j 

And many else were free to roam abroad, 

But for the main, here found they covert drear. 

Scarce images of life, one here, one there, 

Lay vast and edgeways ; like a dismal cirque 

Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor, 

"When the chill rain begins at shut of eve, 



HYPERION. 253 

In dull November, and their chancel vault, 

The heaven itself, is blinded throughout night. 

Each one kept shroud, nor to his neighbour gave 

Or word, or look, or action of despair. 

Creiis was one ; his ponderous iron mace 

Lay by him, and a shatter'd rib of rock 

Told of his rage, ere he thus sank and pined. 

Iapetus another ; in his grasp, 

A serpent's plashy neck ; its barbed tongue 

Squeezed from the gorge, and all its uncurl' d length 

Dead ; and because the creature could not spit 

Its poison in the eyes of conquering Jove. 

Next Cottus : prone he lay, chin uppermost, 

As though in pain ; for still upon the flint 

He ground severe his skull, with open mouth 

And eyes at horrid working. Nearest him 

Asia, born of most enormous Caf, 

Who cost her mother Tellus keener pangs, 

Though feminine, than any of her sons : 

More thought than woe was in her dusky face, 

For she was prophesying of her glory ; 

And in her wide imagination stood 

Palm-shaded temples, and high rival fanes, 

By Oxus or in Ganges' sacred isles. 

Even as Hope upon her anchor leans, 

So leant she, not so fair, upon a tusk 

Shed from the broadest of her elephants. 

Above her, on a crag's uneasy shelve, 

Upon his elbow raised, all prostrate else, 

Shadow'd Enceladus ; once tame and mild 

As grazing ox unworried in the meads ; 

Now tiger-passion' d, lion-thoughted, wroth, 



254 HYPERION. 

He meditated, plotted, and even now 

Was hurling mountains in that second war, 

Not long delay'd, that scared the younger Gods 

To hide themselves in forms of beast and bird. 

Not far hence Atlas ; and beside him prone 

Phorcus, the sire of Gorgons. Neighbour'd close 

Oceanus, and Tethys, in whose lap 

Sobb'd Clymene among her tangled hair. 

In midst of all lay Themis, at the feet 

Of Ops the queen all clouded round from sight ; 

No shape distinguishable, more than when 

Thick night confounds the pine-tops with the clouds 

And many else whose names may not be told. 

For when the muse's wings are air-ward spread, 

Who shall delay her flight ? And she must chant 

Of Saturn, and his guide, who now had climbed 

With damp and slippery footing from a depth 

More horrid still. Above a sombre cliff 

Their heads appear' d, and up their stature grew 

Till on the level height their steps found ease : 

Then Thea spread abroad her trembling arms 

Upon the precincts of this nest of pain, 

And sidelong fixed her eye on Saturn's face : 

There saw she direst strife ; the supreme God 

At war with all the frailty of grief, 

Of rage, of fear, anxiety, revenge, 

Remorse, spleen, hope, but most of all despair. 

Against these plagues he strove in vain : for Fate 

Had pour'd a mortal oil upon his head, 

A disanointing poison : so that Thea, 

Affrighted, kept her still, and let him pass 

First onwards in, among the fallen tribe. 



HYPEUION. 255 

As with us mortal men, the laden heart 
Is persecuted more, and fever' d more, 
When it is nighing to the mournful house 
Where other hearts are sick of the same bruise ; 
So Saturn, as he walk'd into the midst, 
Felt faint, and would have sunk among the rest, 
But that he met Enceladus's eye, 
Whose mightiness, and awe of him, at once 
Came like an inspiration ; and he shouted, 
" Titans, behold your God ! " at which some groan'd ; 
Some started on their feet ; some also shouted ; 
Some wept, some wail'd all bow'd with reverence ; 
And Ops, uplifting her black folded veil, 
Show'd her pale cheeks, and all her forehead wan, 
Her eyebrows thin and jet, and hollow eyes. 
There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines 
When Winter lifts his voice ; there is a noise 
Among immortals when a God gives sign, 
With hushing finger, how he means to load 
His tongue with the full weight of utterless thought, 
With thunder, and with music, and with pomp : 
Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines ; 
Which, when it ceases in this mountain 'd world, 
No other sound succeeds ; but ceasing here, 
Among these fallen, Saturn's voice therefrom 
Grew up like organ, that begins anew 
Its strain, when other harmonies, stopt short, 
Leave the dinn'd air vibrating silverly. 
Thus grew it up ; " Not in my own sad breast, 
Which is its own great judge and searcher out, 
Can I find reason why ye should be thus : 
Not in the legends of the first of days, 



256 HYPERION. 

Studied from that old spirit-leaved book 

Which starry Uranus with finger bright 

Saved from the shores of darkness, when the waves 

Low-ebb'd still hid it up in shallow gloom ; 

And the which book ye know I ever kept 

For my firm-based footstool : Ah, infirm ! 

Not there, nor in sign, symbol, or portent 

Of element, earth, water, air, and fire, 

At war, at peace, or inter-quarrelling 

One against one, or two, or three, or all, 

Each several one against the other three, 

As fire with air loud warring when rain-floods 

Drown both, and press them both against earth's face, 

Where, finding sulphur, a quadruple wrath 

Unhinges the poor world ; not in that strife, 

Wherefrom I take strange lore, and read it deep, 

Can I find reason why ye should be thus : 

No, nowhere can unriddle, though I search, 

And pore on Nature's universal scroll 

Even to swooning, why ye, Divinities, 

The first-born of all shaped and palpable Gods, 

Should cower beneath what, in comparison, 

Is untremendous might. Yet ye are here, 

O'erwhelm'd, and spurn' d, and batter' d, ye are here ! 

Titans, shall I say ' Arise ! ' Ye groan : 

Shall I say ' Crouch ! ' Ye groan. What can I then ? 

Heaven wide ! O unseen parent dear ! 

What can I ? Tell me, all ye brethren Gods, 

How we can war, how engine our great wrath ! 

O speak your counsel now, for Saturn's ear 

Is all a-hunger'd. Thou, Oceanus, 

Ponderest high and deep ; and in thy face 



HYPERION. 257 

I see, astonied, that severe content 

Which comes of thought and musing : give us help ! " 

So ended Saturn ; and the God of the Sea, 
Sophist and sage, from no Athenian grove, 
But cogitation in his watery shades, 
Arose, with locks not oozy, and began, 
In murmurs, which his first endeavouring tongue 
Caught infant-like from the far- foamed sands. 
" O ye, whom wrath consumes ! who, passion-stung, 
"Writhe at defeat, and nurse your agonies ! 
Shut up your senses, stifle up your ears, 
My voice is not a bellows unto ire. 
Tet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof 
How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop : 
And in the proof much comfort will I give, 
If ye will take that comfort in its truth. 
We fall by course of Nature's law, not force 
Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou 
Hast sifted well the atom-universe ; 
But for this reason, that thou art the King, 
And only blind from sheer supremacy, 
One avenue was shaded from thine eyes, 
Through which I wander' d to eternal truth. 
And first, as thou wast not the first of powers, 
So art thou not the last ; it cannot be. 
Thou art not the beginning nor the end. 
From chaos and parental darkness came 
Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil, 
That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends 
Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came, 
And with it light, and light engendering 



258 HYPERION. 

Upon its own producer, forthwith touch'd 

The whole enormous matter into life. 

Upon that very hour, our parentage, 

The Heavens and the Earth, were manifest : 

Then thou first-born, and we the giant-race, 

Found ourselves ruling new and beauteous realms. 

Now comes the pain of truth, to whom 'tis pain ; 

O folly ! for to bear all naked truths, 

And to envisage circumstance, all calm, 

That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well ! 

A s Heaven and Earth are fairer, fairer far 

Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs ; 

And as we show beyond that Heaven and Eartli 

In form and shape compact and beautiful, 

In will, in action free, companionship, 

And thousand other signs of purer life ; 

So on our heels a fresh perfection treads, 

A power more strong in beauty, born of us 

And fated to excel us, as we pass 

In glory that old Darkness : nor are we 

Thereby more conquered than by us the rule 

Of shapeless Chaos. Say, doth the dull soil 

Quarrel with the proud forests it hath fed, 

And feedeth still, more comely than itself? 

Can it deny the chiefdom of green groves ? 

Or shall the tree be envious of the dove 

Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings 

To wander wherewithal and find its joys ? 

We are such forest-trees, and our fair boughs 

Have bred forth, not pale solitary doves, 

But eagles golden-feather'd, who do tower 

Above us in their beauty, and must reign 



HYPERION. 

In right thereof; for 'tis the eternal law 
That first in beauty should be first in might 
Yea, by that law, another race may drive 
Our conquerors to mourn as we do now. 
Have ye beheld the young God of the Seas, 



259 




My dispossessor ? Have ye seen his face ? 
Have ye beheld his chariot, foam'd along 
By noble winged creatures he hath made ? 
I saw him on the calmed waters scud, 
With such a glow of beauty in his eyes, 
That it enforced me to bid sad farewell 



260 HYPERION. 

To all my empire : farewell sad I took, 
And hither came, to see how dolorous fate 
Had wrought upon ye ; and how I might best 
Give consolation in this woe extreme. 
Receive the truth, and let it be your balm." 

Whether through pozed conviction, or disdain, 
They guarded silence, when Oceanus 
Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell ? 
But so it was, none answer'd for a space, 
Save one whom none regarded, Clymene : 
And yet she answer'd not, only complain'd, 
With hectic lips, and eyes up-looking mild, 
Thus wording timidly among the fierce : 
" O Father ! I am here the simplest voice, 
And all my knowledge is that joy is gone, 
And this thing woe crept in among our hearts, 
There to remain for ever, as I fear : 
I would not bode of evil, if I thought 
So weak a creature could turn off the help 
Which by just right should come of mighty Gods 
Yet let me tell my sorrow, let me tell 
Of what I heard, and how it made me weep, 
And know that we had parted from all hope. 
I stood upon a shore, a pleasant shore, 
Where a sweet clime was breathed from a land 
Of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers. 
Full of calm joy it was, as I of grief; 
Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth ; 
So that I felt a movement in my heart 
To chide, and to reproach that solitude 
With songs of misery, music of our woes ; 



HYPERION. 261 

And sat me down, and took a mouthed shell 
And murmur' d into it, and made melody 

melody no more ! for while I sang, 
And with poor skill let pass into the breeze 
The dull shell's echo, from a bowery strand 
Just opposite, an island of the sea, 

There came enchantment with the shifting wind 
That did both drown and keep alive my ears. 

1 threw my shell away upon the sand, 
And a wave fill'd it, as my sense was fill'd 
With that new blissful golden melody. 

A living death was in each gush of sounds, 

Each family of rapturous hurried notes, 

That fell, one after one, yet all at once, 

Like pearl beads dropping sudden from their string : 

And then another, then another strain, 

Each like a dove leaving its olive perch, 

With music wing'd instead of silent plumes, 

To hover round my head, and make me sick 

Of joy and grief at once. Grief overcame, 

And I was stopping up my frantic ears, 

When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands, 

A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune, 

And still it cried, ' Apollo ! young Apollo ! 

The morning-bright Apollo ! young Apollo ! ' 

I fled, it follow'd me, and cried ' Apollo ! ' 

O Father, and Brethren ! had ye felt 

Those pains of mine ! O Saturn, hadst thou felt, 

Ye would not call this too indulged tongue 

Presumptuous, in thus venturing to be heard ! " 

So far her voice flow'd on, like timorous brook 



262 HYPERION. 

That, lingering along a pebbled coast, 
Doth fear to meet the sea : but sea it met, 
And shudder' d ; for the overwhelming voice 
Of huge Enceladus swallow'd it in wrath : 
The ponderous syllables, like sullen waves 
In the half-glutted hollows of reef-rocks, 
Came booming thus, while still upon his arm 
He lean'd ; not rising, from supreme contempt. 
" Or shall we listen to the over-wise, 
Or to the over-foolish giant, Gods ? 
Not thunderbolt on thunderbolt, till all 
That rebel Jove's whole armoury were spent, 
Not world on world upon these shoulders piled, 
Could agonise me more than baby-words 
In midst of this dethronement horrible. 
Speak ! roar ! shout ! yell ! ye sleepy Titans all. 
Do ye forget the blows, the buffets vile ? 
Are ye not smitten by a youngling arm ? 
Dost thou forget, sham Monarch of the "Waves, 
Thy scalding in the seas ? What! have I roused 
Tour spleens with so few simple w T ords as these ? 
O joy ! for now I see ye are not lost : 
O joy ! for now I see a thousand eyes 
Wide glaring for revenge." As this he said, 
He lifted up his stature vast, and stood, 
Still without intermission speaking thus : 
" Now ye are flames, I'll tell you how to burn, 
And purge the ether of our enemies ; 
How to feed fierce the crooked stings of fire, 
And singe away the swollen clouds of Jove, 
Stifling that puny essence in its tent. 
O let him feel the evil he hath done ; 



HYPERION. 263 

For though I scorn Oceanus's lore, 

Much pain have I for more than loss of realms : 

The days of peace and slumberous calm are fled ; 

Those days, all innocent of scathing war, 

"When all the fair Existences of heaven 

Came open-eyed to guess what we would speak: 

That was before our brows were taught to frown, 

Before our lips knew else but solemn sounds ; 

That was before we knew the winged thing, 

Victory, might be lost, or might be won. 

And be ye mindful that Hyperion, 

Our brightest brother, still is undisgraced 

Hyperion, lo ! his radiance is here ! " 

All eyes were on Enceladus's face, 
And they beheld, while still Hyperion's name 
Flew from his lips up to the vaulted rocks, 
A pallid gleam across his features stern : 
Not savage, for he saw full many a God 
AVroth as himself. He look'd upon them all, 
And in each face he saw a gleam of light, 
But splendider in Saturn's, whose hoar locks 
Shone like the bubbling foam about a keel 
When the prow sweeps into a midnight cove. 
In pale and silver silence they remain'd, 
Till suddenly a splendour, like the morn, 
Pervaded all the beetling gloomy steeps, 
All the sad spaces of oblivion, 
And every gulf, and every chasm old, 
And every height, and every sullen depth, 
Voiceless, or hoarse with loud tormented streams : 
And all the everlasting cataracts, 



264 HYPERION. 

And all the headlong torrents far and near, 

Mantled before in darkness and huge shade, 

Now saw the light and made it terrible. 

It was Hyperion : a granite peak 

His bright feet touch'd, and there he staid to view 

The misery his brilliance had betray' d 

To the most hateful seeing of itself. 

Golden his hair of short Numidian curl, 

Regal his shape majestic, a vast shade 

In midst of his own brightness, like the bulk 

Of Memnon's image at the set of sun 

To one who travels from the dusking East : 

Sighs, too, as mournful as that Memnon's harp, 

He utter'd, while his hands, contemplative, 

He press' d together, and in silence stood. 

Despondence seized again the fallen Gods 

At sight of the dejected King of Day, 

And many hid their faces from the light : 

But fierce Enceladus sent forth his eyes 

Among the brotherhood ; and, at their glare, 

Uprose Iapetus, and Creiis too, 

And Phorcus, sea-born, and together strode 

To where he tower'd on his eminence. 

There those four shouted forth old Saturn's name ; 

Hyperion from the peak loud answer'd " Saturn ! " 

Saturn sat near the Mother of the Gods, 

In whose face was no joy, though all the Gods 

Gave from their hollow throats the name of " Saturn ! " 




BOOK III. 



Thus in alternate uproar and sad peace, 

Amazed were those Titans utterly. 

O leave them, Muse ! leave them to their woes ! 

For thou art weak to sing such tumults dire : 

A solitary sorrow best befits 

Thy lips, and antheming a lonely grief. 

Leave them, O Muse ! for thou anon wilt find 

Many a fallen old Divinity 

Wandering in vain about bewilder'd shores. 

Meantime touch piously the Delphic harp, 

And not a wind of heaven but will breathe 



266 HYPERION. 

In aid soft warble from the Dorian flute ; 

For lo ! 'tis for the Father of all verse. 

Flush everything that hath a vermeil hue, 

Let the rose glow intense aud warm the air, 

And let the clouds of even and of morn 

Float in voluptuous fleeces o'er the hills ; 

Let the red wine within the goblet boil, 

Cold as a bubbling well ; let faint-lipp'd shells, 

On sands or in great deeps, vermilion turn 

Through all their labyrinths ; and let the maid 

Blush keenly, as with some warm kiss surprised. 

Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades, 

Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green, 

And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech, 

In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song, 

And hazels thick, dark-stemm'd beneath the shade 

Apollo is once more the golden theme ! 

Where was he, when the Giant of the Sun 

Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers ? 

Together had he left his mother fair 

And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower, 

And in the morning twilight wander'd forth 

Beside the osiers of a rivulet, 

Full ankle-deep in lilies of the vale. 

The nightingale had ceased, and a few stars 

Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush 

Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle 

There was no covert, no retired cave 

Unhaunted by the murmurous noise of waves, 

Though scarcely heard in many a green recess. 

He listen'd, and he wept, and his bright tears 

Went trickling down the golden bow he held. 



HYPERION. 265 

Thus with half-shut suffused eyes he stood, 

While from beneath some cumbrous boughs hard by 

With solemn step an awful Goddess came, 

And there was purport in her looks for him, 

Which he with eager guess began to read 

Perplex' d, the while melodiously he said : 

" How earnest thou over the unfooted sea ? 

Or hath that antique mien and robed form 

Moved in these vales invisible till now ? 

Sure I have heard those vestments sweeping o'er 

The fallen leaves, when I have sat alone 

In cool mid forest. Surely I have traced 

The rustle of those ample skirts about 

These grassy solitudes, and seen the flowers 

Lift up their heads, as still the whisper pass'd. 

Groddess ! I have beheld those eyes before, 

And their eternal calm, and all that face, 

Or I have dream'd." "Yes," said the supreme shape, 

" Thou hast dream'd of me ; and awaking up 

Didst find a lyre all golden by thy side, 

Whose strings touch' d by thy fingers, all the vast 

Unwearied ear of the whole universe 

Listen' d in pain and pleasure at the birth 

Of such new tuneful wonder. Is 't not strange 

That thou shouldst weep, so gifted ? Tell me, youth, 

What sorrow thou canst feel ; for I am sad 

When thou dost shed a tear : explain thy griefs 

To one who in this lonely isle hath been 

The watcher of thy sleep and hours of life, 

From the young day when first thy infant hand 

Pluck'd witless the weak flowers, till thine arm 

Could bend that bow heroic to all times. 




Show thy heart's secret to an ancient Power 
"Who hath forsaken old and sacred thrones 
For prophecies of thee, and for the sake 
Of loveliness new-born." Apollo then, 
"With sudden scrutiny and gloomless eyes, 
Thus answer' d, while his white melodious throat 
Throbb'd with the syllables : " Mnemosyne ! 
Thy name is on my tongue, I know not how ; 
Why should I tell thee what thou so well seest ? 
"Why should I strive to show what from thy lips 
"Would come no mystery ? For me, dark, dark, 
And painful vile oblivion seals my eyes : 
I strive to search wherefore I am so sad, 
Until a melancholy numbs my limbs ; 
And then upon the grass I sit, and moan, 
Like one who once had wings. O why should I 
Feel cursed and thwarted, when the liegeless air 
Yields to my step aspirant ? why should I 
Spurn the green turf as hateful to my feet ? 
Goddess benign ! point forth some unknown thing 



HYPERION. 269 

Are there not other regions than this isle ? 

What are the stars ? There is the sun, the sun ! 

And the most patient brilliance of the moon ! 

And stars by thousands ! Point me out the way 

To any one particular beauteous star, 

And I will flit into it with my lyre, 

And make its silvery splendour pant with bliss. 

I have heard the cloudy thunder : Where is power? 

Whose hand, whose essence, what divinity 

Makes this alarum in the elements, 

While I here idle listen on the shores 

In fearless yet in aching ignorance ? 

tell me, lonely Goddess ! by thy harp, 

That waileth every morn and eventide, 

Tell me why thus I rave, about these groves ! 

Mute thou remainest Mute ? yet I can read 

A wondrous lesson in thy silent face : 

Knowledge enormous makes a God of me. 

Names, deeds, grey legends, dire events, rebellions, 

Majesties, sovran voices, agonies, 

Creations and destroyings, all at once 

Pour into the wide hollows of my brain, 

And deify me, as if some blithe wine 

Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk, 

And so become immortal." Thus the God, 

While his enkindled eyes, with level glance 

Beneath his white soft temples, steadfast kept 

Trembling with light upon Mnemosyne. 

Soon wild commotions shook him, and made flush 

All the immortal fairness of his limbs : 

Most like the struggle at the gate of death ; 

Or liker still to one who should take leave 



270 



HYPERION. 



Of pale immortal death, and with a pang 
As hot as death's is chill, with fierce convulse 
Die into life : so young Apollo anguish'd ; 
His very hair, his golden tresses famed 
Kept undulation round his eager neck. 
During the pain Mnemosyne upheld 
Her arms as one who prophesied. At length 
Apollo shriek'd ; and lo ! from all his limbs 
Celestial * 




MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 




What more felicity can fall to creatui'e 
Than to enjoy delight with liberty? 

Fate of the Butterfly. Spenser. 



DEDICATION 



TO LEIGH HUNT, ESQ. 

Glory and loveliness have pass'd away ; 

For if we wander out in early morn, 

No wreathed incense do we see upborne 
Into the east to meet the smiling day : 
No crowds of nymphs soft-voiced and young and gay, 

In woven baskets bringing ears of corn, 

Roses, and pinks, and violets, to adorn 
The shrine of Flora in her early May. 
But there are left delights as high as these. 

And I shall ever bless my destiny, 
That in a time when under pleasant trees 

Pan is no longer sought, I feel a free, 
A leafy luxury, seeing I could please 

With these poor offerings, a man like thee. 





Places of nestling green for poets made. Story of Rimini. 



I stood tiptoe upon a little hill, 

The air was cooling, and so very still, 

That the sweet buds which with a modest pride 

Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside, 

Their "scanty-leaved, and finely-tapering stems, 

Had not yet lost their starry diadems 

Caught from the early sobbing of the morn. 

The clouds were pure and white as flocks new-shorn, 

And fresh from the clear brook ; sweetly they slept 

On the blue fields of heaven, and then there crept 

A little noiseless noise among the leaves, 



274 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Born of the very sigh that silence heaves ; 

For not the faintest motion could be seen 

Of all the shades that slanted o'er the green. 

There was wide wandering for the greediest eye, 

To peer about upon variety ; 

Far round the horizon's crystal air to skim, 

And trace the dwindled edgings of its brim ; 

To picture out the quaint and curious bending 

Of a fresh woodland alley never-ending : 

Or by the bowery clefts, and leafy shelves, 

Guess where the jaunty streams refresh themselves. 

I gazed awhile, and felt as light, and free 

As though the fanning wings of Mercury 

Had play'd upon my heels : I was light-hearted, 

And many pleasures to my vision started ; 

So I straightway began to pluck a posy 

Of luxuries bright, milky, soft and rosy. 

A bush of May-flowers with the bees about them ; 

Ah, sure no tasteful nook could be without them ! 

And let a lush laburnum oversweep them, 

And let long grass grow round the roots, to keep them 

Moist, cool and green ; and shade the violets, 

That they may bind the moss in leafy nets. 

A filbert-hedge with wild-briar overtwined, 
ALnd clumps of woodbine taking the soft wind 
Upon their summer thrones ; there too should be 
The frequent-chequer of a youngling tree, 
That with a score of light green brethren shoots 
From the quaint mossiness of aged roots : 
Round which is heard a spring-head of clear waters, 
Babbling so wildly of its lovely daughters, 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 275 

The spreading blue-bells : it may haply mourn 
That such fair clusters should be rudely torn 
From their fresh beds, and scatter' d thoughtlessly 
By infant hands, left on the path to die. 

Open afresh your round of starry folds, 
Te ardent marigolds ! 

Dry up the moisture from your golden lids, 
For great Apollo bids 

That in these days your praises should be sung 
On many harps, which he has lately strung ; 
And when again your dewiness he kisses, 
Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses : 
So haply when I rove in some far vale, 
His mighty voice may come upon the gale. 

Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight : 
"With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white, 
And taper fingers catching at all things, 
To bind them all about with tiny rings. 
Linger awhile upon some bending planks 
That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks, 
And watch intently Nature's gentle doings : 
They will be found softer than ringdoves' cooings. 
How silent comes the water round that bend ! 
Not the minutest whisper does it send 
To the o'erhanging sallows : blades of grass 
Slowly across the chequer'd shadows pass. 
Why you might read two sonnets, ere they reach 
To where the hurrying freshnesses aye preach 
A natural sermon o'er their pebbly beds ; 
Where swarms of minnows show their little heads, 



276 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Staying their wavy bodies 'gainst the streams, 

To taste the luxury of sunny beams 

Temper' d with coolness. How they ever wrestle 

With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle 

Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand ! 

If you but scantily hold out the hand, 

That very instant not one will remain ; 

But turn your eye, and they are there again. 

The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses, 

And cool themselves among the emerald tresses ; 

The while they cool themselves, they freshness give, 

And moisture, that the bowery green may live : 

So keeping up an interchange of favours, 

Like good men in the truth of their behaviours. 

Sometimes goldfinches one by one will drop 

From low-hung branches : little space they stop ; 

But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek ; 

Then off at once, as in a wanton freak : 

Or perhaps, to show their black and golden wings, 

Pausing upon their yellow flutterings. 

"Were I in such a place, I sure should pray 

That nought less sweet, might call my thoughts away, 

Than the soft rustle of a maiden's gown 

Fanning away the dandelion's down ; 

Than the light music of her nimble toes 

Patting against the sorrel as she goes. 

How she would start, and blush, thus to be caught 

Playing in all her innocence of thought ! 

O let me lead her gently o'er the brook, 

Watch her half-smiling lips and downward look ; 

O let me for one moment touch her wrist ; 

Let me one moment to her breathing list ; 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 277 

And as she leaves me, may she often turn 

Her fair eyes looking through her locks auburne. 

What next ? a tuft of evening primroses, 

O'er which the mind may hover till it dozes ; 

O'er which it well might take a pleasant sleep, 

But that 'tis ever startled by the leap 

Of buds into ripe flowers ; or by the flitting 

Of divers moths, that aye their rest are quitting ; 

Or by the moon lifting her silver rim 

Above a cloud, and with a gradual swim 

Coming into the blue with all her light. 

O Maker of sweet poets ! dear delight 

Of this fair world and all its gentle livers ; 

Spangler of clouds, halo of crystal rivers, 

Mingler with leaves, and dew and tumbling streams, 

Closer of lovely eyes to lovely dreams, 

Lover of loneliness, and wandering, 

Of upcast eye, and tender pondering ! 

Thee must I praise above all other glories 

That smile us on to tell delightful stories. 

For what has made the sage or poet write 

But the fair paradise of Nature's light ? 

In the calm grandeur of a sober line, 

We see the waving of the mountain pine ; 

And when a tale is beautifully staid, 

We feel the safety of a hawthorn glade : 

When it is moving on luxurious wings, 

The soul is lost in pleasant smotherings : 

Fair dewy roses brush against our faces, 

And flowering laurels spring from diamond vases ; 

O'erhead we see the jasmine and sweet-briar, 

And bloomy grapes laughing from green attire ; 



278 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



While at our feet, the voice of crystal bubbles 
Charms us at once away from all our troubles: 
So that we feel uplifted from the world, 
Walking upon the white clouds wreath'd and curl'd. 
So felt he, who first told how Psyche went 
On the smooth wind to realms of wonderment ; 
What Psyche felt, and Love, when their full lips 
First touch' d ; what amorous and fondling nips 
They gave each other's cheeks ; with all their sighs, 
And how they kist each other's tremulous eyes: 




The silver lamp, the ravishment rthe wonder 
The darkness loneliness the fearful thunder ; 
Their woes gone by, and both to heaven up flown, 
To bow for gratitude before Jove's throne. 
So did he feel, who pull'd the boughs aside, 
That we might look into a forest wide, 
To catch a glimpse of Fauns, and Dryades 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 279 

Coming with softest rustle through the trees ; 
And garlands woven of flowers wild, and sweet, 
Upheld on ivory wrists, or sporting feet : 
Telling us how fair trembling Syrinx fled 
Arcadian Pan, with such a fearful dread. 
Poor Nymph, poor Pan, how did he weep to find 
Nought but a lovely sighing of the wind 
Along the reedy stream ! a half-heard strain, 
Pull of sweet desolation balmy pain. 

What first inspired a bard of old to sing 
Narcissus pining o'er the untainted spring ? 
In some delicious ramble, he had found 
A little space, with boughs all woven round ; 
And in the midst of all, a clearer pool 
Than e'er reflected in its pleasant cool 
The blue sky, here and there serenely peeping, 
Through tendril wreaths fantastically creeping. 
And on the bank a lonely flower he spied, 
A meek and forlorn flower, with nought of pride, 
Drooping its beauty o'er the watery clearness, 
To woo its own sad image into nearness : 
Deaf to light Zephyrus it would not move ; 
But still would seem to droop, to pine, to love. 
So while the poet stood in this sweet spot, 
Some fainter gleamings o'er his fancy shot ; 
Nor was it long ere he had told the tale 
Of young Narcissus, and sad Echo's bale. 

Where he had been, from whose warm head outflew 
That sweetest of all songs, that ever new, 
That aye refreshing, pure deliciousness, 



280 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Coming ever to bless 

The wanderer by moonlight ? to him bringing 

Shapes from the invisible world, unearthly singing 

From out the middle air, from flowery nests, 

And from the pillowy silkiness that rests 

Full in the speculation of the stars. 

Ah ! surely he had burst our mortal bars ; 

Into some wondrous region he had gone, 

To search for thee, divine Endymion ! 

He was a Poet, sure a lover too, 
Who stood on Latmus' top, what time there blew 
Soft breezes from the myrtle vale below ; 
And brought, in faintness solemn, sweet, and slow, 
A hymn from Dian's temple ; while upswelling, 
The incense went to her own starry dwelling. 
But though her face was clear as infants' eyes, 
Though she stood smiling o'er the sacrifice, 
The poet wept at her so piteous fate, 
"Wept that such beauty should be desolate : 
So in fine wrath some golden sounds he won, 
And gave meek Cynthia her Endymion. 

Queen of the wide air; thou most lovely queen 
Of all the brightness that mine eyes have seen ! 
As thou exceedest all things in thy shine, 
So every tale, does this sweet tale of thine. 
O for three words of honey, that I might 
Tell but one wonder of thy bridal night ! 

"Where distant ships do seem to show their keels, 
Phoebus awhile delay'd his mighty wheels, 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



231 



And turn'd to smile upon thy bashful eyes, 

Ere he his unseen pomp would solemnise. 

The evening weather was so bright, and clear, 

That men of health were of unusual cheer ; 

Stepping like Homer at the trumpet's call, 

Or young Apollo on the pedestal : 

And lovely women were as fair and warm, 

As Venus looking sideways in alarm. 

The breezes were ethereal, and pure, 

And crept through half- closed lattices to cure 

The languid sick : it cool'd their fever' d sleep, 

And soothed them into slumbers full and deep. 

Soon they awoke clear-eyed : nor burn'd with thirsting 

Nor with hot fingers, nor with temples bursting : 

And springing up, they met the wondering sight 

Of their dear friends, nigh foolish with delight ; 

Who feel their arms, and breasts, and kiss, and stare, 

And on their placid foreheads part the hair. 

Young men and maidens at each other gazed, 

With hands held back, and motionless, amazed 

To see the brightness in each other's eyes ; 

And so they stood, fill'd with a sweet surprise, 

Until their tongues were loosed in poesy. 

Therefore no lover did of anguish die : 

But the soft numbers, in that moment spoken, 

Made silken ties, that never may be broken. 

Cynthia ! I cannot tell the greater blisses 

That follow'd thine, and thy dear shepherd's kisses : 

Was there a poet born ? But now no more 

My wandering spirit must no farther soar. 




SPECIMEN OF AN INDUCTION TO A POEM. 

Lo ! I must tell a tale of chivalry ; 

For large white plumes are dancing in mine eye. 

Not like the formal crest of latter days : 

But bending in a thousand graceful ways ; 

So graceful, that it seems no mortal hand, 

Or e'en the touch of Archimago's wand, 

Could charm them into such an attitude. 

We must think rather, that in playful mood, 

Some mountain breeze had turn'd its chief delight 

To show this wonder of its gentle might. 

Lo ! I must tell a tale of chivalry ; 

For while I muse, the lance points slantingly 

Athwart the morning air : some lady sweet, 

"Who cannot feel for cold her tender feet, 

From the worn top of some old battlement 

Hails it with tears, her stout defender sent ; 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



283 



And from her own pure self no joy dissembling, 

Wraps round her ample robe with happy trembling. 

Sometimes when the good knight his rest could take, 

It is reflected, clearly, in a lake, 

With the young ashen boughs, 'gainst which it rests, 

And th' half-seen mossiness of linnets' nests. 

Ah ! shall I ever tell its cruelty, 

When the fire flashes from a warrior's eye, 

And his tremendous hand is grasping it, 

And his dark brow for very wrath is knit ? 

Or when his spirit, with more calm intent 

Leaps to the honours of a tournament, 

And makes the gazers round about the ring 

Stare at the grandeur of the balancing ? 

No, no ! this is far off: then how shall I 

Revive the dying tones of minstrelsy, 

Which linger yet about long gothic arches, 

In dark green ivy, and among wild larches ? 

How sing the splendour of the revelries, 

When butts of wine are drank off to the lees ? 

And that bright lance, against the fretted wall, 

Beneath the shade of stately banneral, 

Is slung with shining cuirass, sword, and shield ? 

Where ye may see a spur in bloody field, 

Light-footed damsels move with gentle paces 

Round the wide hall, and show their happy faces ; 

Or stand in courtly talk by fives and sevens : 

Like those fair stars that twinkle in the heavens. 

Yet must I tell a tale of chivalry : 

Or wherefore comes that knight so proudly by ? 

Wherefore more proudly does the gentle knight 

Rein in the swelling of his ample might ? 



284 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Spenser ! thy brows are arched, open, kind, 

And come like a clear sun-rise to my mind ; 

And always does my heart with pleasure dance, 

When I think on thy noble countenance : 

Where never yet was aught more earthly seen 

Than the pure freshness of thy laurels green. 

Therefore, great bard, I not so fearfully 

Call on thy gentle spirit to hover nigh 

My daring steps : or if thy tender care, 

Thus startled unaware, 

Be jealous that the foot of other wight 

Should madly follow that bright patli of light 

Traced by thy loved Libertas ; he will speak, 

And tell thee that my prayer is very meek ; 

That I will follow with due reverence, 

And start with awe at mine own strange pretence. 

Him thou wilt hear ; so I will rest in hope 

To see wide plains, fair trees, and lawny slope ; 

The morn, the eve, the light, the shade, the flowers ; 

Clear streams, smooth lakes, and overlooking towers. 





CALIDORE. 



A FRAGMENT. 



Young Calidore is paddling o'er the lake ; 

His healthful spirit eager and awake 

To feel the beauty of a silent eve, 

Which seem'd full loth this happy world to leave, 

The light dwelt o'er the scene so lingeringly. 

He bares his forehead to the cool blue sky, 

And smiles at the far clearness all around, 

Until his heart is "well nigh overwound, 

And turns for calmness to the pleasant green 

Of easy slopes, and shadowy trees that lean 

So elegantly o'er the waters' brim 

And show their blossoms trim. 



286 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Scarce can his clear and nimble eyesight follow 
The freaks and dartings of the black-wing'd swallow, 
Delighting much, to see it half at rest, 
Dip so refreshingly its wings and breast 
'Gainst the smooth surface, and to mark anon, 
The widening circles into nothing gone. 

And now the sharp keel of his little boat 
Comes up with ripple, and with easy float 
And glides into a bed of water-lilies : 
Broad-leaved are they, and their white canopies 
Are upward turn'd to catch the heavens' dew. 
Near to a little island's point they grew ; 
Whence Calidore might have the goodliest view 
Of this sweet spot of earth. The bowery shore 
"Went off in gentle windings to the hoar 
And light blue mountains : but no breathing man 
With a warm heart, and eye prepared to scan 
Nature's clear beauty, could pass lightly by 
Objects that look'd out so invitingly 
On either side. These, gentle Calidore 
Greeted, as he had known them long before. 

The sidelong view of swelling leanness, 
Which the glad setting sun in gold doth dress, 
Whence, ever and anon, the joy outsprings, 
And scales upon the beauty of its wings. 

The lonely turret, shatter'd, and outworn, 
Stands venerably proud ; too proud to mourn 
Its long-lost grandeur : fir-trees grow around, 
Aye dropping their hard fruit upon the ground. 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



287 



The little chapel, with the cross above, 
Upholding wreaths of ivy ; the white dove, 
That on the windows spreads his feathers light, 
And seems from purple clouds to wing its flight. 



Green tufted islands casting their soft shades 
Across the lake ; sequester'd leafy glades, 
That through the dimness of their twilight show 
Large dock-leaves, spiral foxgloves, or the glow 
Of the wild cat's-eyes, or the silvery stems 
Of delicate birch-trees, or long grass which hems 
A little brook. The youth had long been viewing 
These pleasant things, and heaven was bedewing 
The mountain flowers, when his glad senses caught 
A trumpet's silver voice. Ah ! it was fraught 
"With many joys for him : the warder's ken 
Had found white coursers prancing in the glen : 
Friends very dear to him he soon will see ; 
So pushes off his boat most eagerly. 
And soon upon the lake he skims along, 
Deaf to the nightingale's first under-song ; 
Nor minds he the white swans that dream so sweetly : 
His spirit flies before him so completely. 
And now he turns a jutting point of land, 
Whence may be seen the castle gloomy and grand : 
Nor will a bee buzz round two swelling peaches, 
Before the point of his light shallop reaches 
Those marble steps that through the water dip : 
Now over them he goes with hasty trip, 
And scarcely stays to ope the folding doors : 
Anon he leaps along the oaken floors 
Of halls and corridors. 



288 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Delicious sounds ! those little bright-eyed tilings 
That float about the air on azure wings, 
Had been less heartfelt by him than the clang 
Of clattering hoofs ; into the court he sprang, 
Just as two noble steeds, and palfreys twain, 
Were slanting out their necks with loosen'd rein ; 
While from beneath the threatening portcullis 
They brought their happy burthens. What a kiss, 
What gentle squeeze he gave each lady's hand ! 
How tremblingly their delicate ankles spann'd ! 
Into how sweet a trance his soul was gone, 
While whisperings of affection 
Made him delay to let their tender feet 
Come to the earth ; with an incline so sweet 
From their low palfreys o'er his neck they bent : 
And whether there were tears of languishment, 
Or that the evening dew had pearl'd their tresses, 
He feels a moisture on his cheek, and blesses 
With lips that tremble, and with glistening eye, 
All the soft luxury 

That nestled in his arms. A dimpled hand, 
Fair as some wonder out of fairy land, 
Hung from his shoulder like the drooping flowers 
Of whitest Cassia, fresh from summer showers : 
And this he fondled with his happy cheek, 
As if for joy he would no further seek : 
When the kind voice of good Sir Clerimond 
Came to his ear, like something from beyond 
His present being : so he gently drew 
His warm arms, thrilling now with pulses new, 
From their sweet thrall, and forward gently bending, 
Thank'd Heaven that his joy was never-ending ; 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

While 'gainst his forehead he devoutly press' d 
A hand Heaven made to succour the distress'd ; 
A hand that from the world's bleak promontory 
Had lifted Calidore for deeds of Glory. 



289 




Amid the pages, and the torches' glare, 
There stood a knight, patting the flowing hair 
Of his proud horse's mane : he was withal 
A man of elegance, and stature tall : 
So that the waving of his plumes would be 
High as the berries of a wild ash tree, 
Or as the winged cap of Mercury. 



290 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

His armour was so dexterously wrought 

In shape, that sure no living man had thought 

It hard, and heavy steel : but that indeed 

It was some glorious form, some splendid weed, 

In which a spirit new come from the skies 

Might live, and show itself to human eyes. 

'Tis the far-famed, the brave Sir Gondibert, 

Said the good man to Calidore alert ; 

While the young warrior with a step of grace 

Came up, a courtly smile upon his face, 

And mailed hand held out, ready to greet 

The large-eyed wonder, and ambitious heat 

Of the aspiring boy ; who as he led 

Those smiling ladies, often turn'd his head 

To admire the visor arch'd so gracefully 

Over a knightly brow ; while they went by 

The lamps that from the high-roof'd hall were pendent, 

And gave the steel a shining quite transcendent. 

Soon in a pleasant chamber they are seated, 
The sweet-lipp'd ladies have already greeted 
All the green leaves that round the window clamber, 
To show their purple stars, and bells of amber. 
Sir Gondibert has dofF'd his shining steel, 
Gladdening in the free and airy feel 
Of a light mantle ; and while Clerimond 
Is looking round about him with a fond 
And placid eye, young Calidore is burning 
To hear of knightly deeds, and gallant spurning 
Of all unworthiness ; and how the strong of arm 
Kept off dismay, and terror, and alarm 
From lovely woman : while brimful of this, 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 291 

He gave each damsel's hand so warm a kiss, 
Aiid had such manly ardour in his eye, 
That each at other look'd half-staringly : 
And then their features started into smiles, 
Sweet as blue heavens o'er enchanted isles. 
Softly the breezes from the forest came, 
Softly they blew aside the taper's flame ; 
Clear was the song from Philomel's far bower ; 
Grateful the incense from the lime-tree flower ; 
Mysterious, wild, the far-heard trumpet's tone; 
Lovely the moon in ether, all alone : 
Sweet too the converse of these happy mortals, 
As that of busy spirits when the portals 
Are closing in the "West ; or that soft humming 
We hear around when Hesperus is coming. 
Sweet be their sleep. ****** 





TO SOME LADIES, 



ON RECEIVING A CURIOUS SIIF.I.I,. 



What though, while the wonders of nature exploring, 
I cannot your light, mazy footsteps attend ; 

Nor listen to accents, that almost adoring, 
Bless Cynthia's face, the enthusiast's friend : 

Yet over the steep, whence the mountain-stream rushes, 
With you, kindest friends, in idea I rove ; 

Mark the clear tumbling crystal, its passionate gushes, 
Its spray, that the wild flower kindly bedews. 

Why linger ye so, the wild labyrinth strolling ? 

Why breathless, unable your bliss to declare ? 
Ah ! you list to the nightingale's tender condoling, 

Responsive to sylphs, in the moon-beamy air. 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 293 

'Tis morn, and the flowers with dew are yet drooping, 
I see you are treading the verge of the sea : 

And now ! ah, I see it you just now are stooping 
To pick up the keepsake intended for me. 

If a cherub, on pinions of silver descending, 

Had brought me a gem from the fretwork of Heaven ; 

And smiles with his star-cheering voice sweetly blending, 
The blessings of Tighe had melodiously given ; 

It had not created a warmer emotion 

Than the present, fair nymphs, I was blest with from you ; 
Than the shell, from the bright golden sands of the ocean, 

Which the emerald waves at your feet gladly threw. 

For, indeed, 'tis a sweet and peculiar pleasure 
(And blissful is he who such happiness finds), 

To possess but a span of the hour of leisure 
In elegant, pure, and aerial minds. 





ON RECEIVING A COPY OF VERSES FROM THE 
SAME LADIES. 

Hast thou from the caves of Golconda, a gem 
Pure as the ice-drop that froze on the mountain ? 

Bright as the humming-bird's green diadem, 

When it flutters in sunbeams that shine through a 
fountain ? 



Hast thou a goblet for dark sparkling wine ? 

That goblet right heavy, and massy, and gold ? 
And splendidly mark'd with the story divine 

Of Armida the fair, and Rinaldo the bold ? 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 295 

Hast tliou a steed with a mane richly flowing ? 

Hast thou a sword that thine enemy's smart is ? 
Hast thou a trumpet rich melodies blowing ? 

And wear'st thou the shield of the famed Britomartis ? 



What is it that hangs from thy shoulder so brave, 
Embroider'd with many a spring-peering flower ? 

Is it a scarf that thy fair lady gave ? 

And hastest thou now to that fair lady's bower ? 

Ah ! courteous Sir Knight, with large joy thou art crown'd 
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth ! 

I will tell thee my blisses, which richly abound 
In magical powers to bless and to soothe. 

On this scroll thou seest written in characters fair 
A sun-beaming tale of a wreath, and a chain : 

And, warrior, it nurtures the property rare 

Of charming my mind from the trammels of pain. 

This canopy mark : 'tis the work of a fay ; 

Beneath its rich shade did King Oberon languish, 
"When lovely Titania was far, far away, 

And cruelly left him to sorrow and anguish. 

There, oft would he bring from his soft-sighing lute 

Wild strains to which, spell-bound, the nightingales 
listen' d ! 

The wondering spirits of Heaven were mute, 

And tears 'mong the dewdrops of morning oft glisten'd. 



296 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

In this little dome, all those melodies strange, 
Soft, plaintive, and melting, for ever will sigh ; 
' Nor e*er will the notes from their tenderness change, 
Nor e'er will the music of Oberon die. 

So when I am in a voluptuous vein, 

I pillow my head on the sweets of the rose, 

And list to the tale of the wreath, and the chain, 
Till its echoes depart ; then I sink to repose. 

Adieu ! valiant Eric ! with joy thou art crown'd, 
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth, 

I too have my blisses, which richly abound 
In magical powers to bless, and to soothe. 





TO 



Had st thou lived in days of old, 
O what wonders had been told 
Of thy lively countenance, 
And thy humid eyes, that dance 
In the midst of their own brightness, 
In the very fane of lightness ; 
Over which thine eyebrows, leaning, 
Picture out each lovely meaning : 
In a dainty bend they lie, 
Like the streaks across the sky, 
Or the feathers from a crow, 
Fallen on a bed of snow. 



Q Q 



298 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Of thy dark hair, that extends 

Into many graceful bends : 

As the leaves of hellebore 

Turn to whence they sprung before. 

And behind each ample curl 

Peeps the richness of a pearl. 

Downward too flows many a tress 

"With a glossy waviness, 

Full, and round like globes that rise 

From the censer to the skies 

Through sunny hair. Add too, the sweetness 

Of thy honied voice ; the neatness 

Of thine ankle lightly turn'd: 

With those beauties scarce discern'd, 

Kept with such sweet privacy, 

That they seldom meet the eye 

Of the little Loves that fly 

Kound about with eager pry. 

Saving when with freshening lave, 

Thou dipp'st them in the taintless wave ; 

Like twin water-lilies, born 

In the coolness of the morn. 

O, if thou hadst breathed then, 

Now the Muses had been ten. 

Couldst thou wish for lineage higher 

Than twin-sister of Thalia ? 

At least for ever, evermore 

Will I call the Graces four. 

Hadst thou lived when chivalry 

Lifted up her lance on high, 

Tell me what thou would st have been ? 

Ah ! I see the silver sheen 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 299 

Of thy broider'd-floating vest 

Covering half thine ivory breast : 

Which, O Heavens ! I should see, 

But that cruel Destiny 

Has placed a golden cuirass there, 

Keeping secret what is fair. 

Like sunbeams in a cloudlet nested, 

Thy locks in knightly casque are rested : 

O'er which bend four milky plumes, 

Like the gentle lily's blooms 

Springing from a costly vase. 

See with what a stately pace 

Comes thine alabaster steed ; 

Servant of heroic deed ! 

O'er his loins, his trappings glow 

Like the northern lights on snow. 

Mount his back ! thy sword unsheath ! 

Sign of the enchanter's death ; 

Bane of every wicked spell ; 

Silencer of dragon's yell. 

Alas ! thou this wilt never do : 

Thou art an enchantress too, 

And wilt surely never spill 

Blood of those whose eyes can kill. 




TO HOPE. 

When by my solitary hearth I sit, 

And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom ; 
When no fair dreams before my " mind's eye " flit, 

And the bare heath of life presents no bloom ; 
Sweet Hope ! ethereal balm upon me shed, 
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head. 

Whene'er I wander, at the fall of night, 

Where woven boughs shut out the moon's bright ray, 
Should sad Despondency my musings fright, 

And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away, 
Peep with the moonbeams through the leafy roof, 
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof. 

Should Disappointment, parent of Despair, 
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart 

When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air, 
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart : 

Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright, 

And fright him, as the morning frightens night ! 

Whene'er the fate of those I hold most dear 
Tells to my fearful breast a tale of sorrow, 

bright-eyed Hope, my morbid fancy cheer ; 
Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow : 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 301 

Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed, 
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head ! 

Should e'er unhappy love my bosom pain, 

From cruel parents, or relentless fair, 
O let me think it is not quite in vain 

To sigh out sonnets to the midnight air ! 
Sweet Hope ! ethereal balm upon me shed, 
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head. 

In the long vista of the years to roll, 

Let me not see our country's honour fade ! 

O let me see our land retain her soul ! 

Her pride, her freedom ; and not freedom's shade. 

From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shed 

Beneath thy pinions canopy my head ! 

Let me not see the patriot's high bequest, 
Great liberty ! how great in plain attire ! 

With the base purple of a court oppress'd, 
Bowing her head, and ready to expire : 

But let me see thee stoop from Heaven on w r ings 

That fill the skies with silver glitterings ! 

And as, in sparkling majesty, a star 

Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud ; 
Brightening the half-veil'd face of heaven afar : 

So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud, 
Sweet Hope ! celestial influence round me shed, 
Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head. 

February, 1815. 



IMITATION OF SPENSEE. 



Now morning from her orient chamber came 
And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant bill : 
Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame, 
Silvering the untainted gushes of its rill ; 
"Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distil, 
And after parting beds of simple flowers, 
By many streams a little lake did fill, 
"Which round its marge reflected woven bowers, 
And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers. 

There the kingfisher saw his plumage bright, 
Vying with fish of brilliant dye below ; 
"Whose silken fins' and golden scales' light 
Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow : 
There saw the swan his neck of arched snow, 
And oar'd himself along with majesty : 
Sparkled his jetty eyes ; his feet did show 
Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony, 
And on his back a fay reclined voluptuously. 

Ah ! could I tell the wonders of an isle 
That in that fairest lake had placed been, 
I could e'en Dido of her grief beguile ; 
Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen : 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 303 

For sure so fair a place was never seen 
Of all that ever charm' d romantic eye : 
It seem'd an emerald in the silver sheen 
Of the bright waters ; or as when on high, 
Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the ccerulean sky. 

And all around it dipp'd luxuriously 
Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide, 
Which, as it were in gentle amity, 
Rippled delighted up the flowery side ; 
As if to glean the ruddy tears it tried, 
Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem ! 
Haply it was the workings of its pride, 
In strife to throw upon the shore a gem 
Outvying all the buds in Flora's diadem. 



Woman ! when I behold thee flippant, vain, 

Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies ; 

Without that modest softening that enhances 
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain 
That its mild light creates to heal again ; 

E'en then, elate, my spirit leaps and prances, 

E'en then my soul with exultation dances 
For that to love, so long, I've dormant lain : 
But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender, 

Heavens ! how desperately do I adore 
Thy winning graces ; to be thy defender 

I hotly burn to be a Calidore 
A very Eed Cross Knight a stout Leander 

Might I be loved by thee like these of yore. 



304 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair ; 

Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast 

Are things on which the dazzled senses rest 
Till the fond, fixed eyes, forget they stare. 
From snch fine pictures, Heavens ! I cannot dare 

To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd 

They be of what is worthy, though not drest, 
In lovely modesty, and virtues rare. 
Yet these I leave as thoughtless as a lark ; 

These lures I straight forget, e'en ere I dine, 
Or thrice my palate moisten : but when I mark 

Such charms with mild intelligences shine, 
My ear is open like a greedy shark, 

To catch the tunings of a voice divine. 

Ah ! who can e'er forget so fair a being ? 

Who can forget her half-retiring sweets ? 

God ! she is like a milk-white lamb that bleats 
For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing, 
Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing, 

Will never give him pinions, who intreats 

Such innocence to ruin, who vilely cheats 
A dove-like bosom. In truth there is no freeing 
One's thoughts from such a beauty ; when I hear 

A lay that once I saw her hand awake, 
Her form seems floating palpable, and near : 

Had I e'er seen her from an arbour take 
A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear, 

And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shako. 




ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE. 



My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk : 
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 
But being too happy in thy happiness, 
That thou, light- winged Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 



306 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been 

Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, 
Tasting of Flora and the country-green, 

Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth ! 
O for a beaker full of the warm South, 
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 
And purple-stained mouth ; 
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 
And with thee fade away into the forest dim : 

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget 

"What thou among the leaves hast never known, 
The weariness, the fever, and the fret 

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ; 
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, 

"Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and diee ; 
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow 
And leaden-eyed despairs ; 
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, 
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 

Away ! away ! for I will fly to thee, 

Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, 
But on the viewless wings of Poesy, 

Though the dull brain perplexes and retards : 
Already with thee ! tender is the night, 

And haply the Queen- Moon is on her throne, 
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays ; 
But here there is no light, 
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown 
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 30^ 

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 

Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, 
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet 

Wherewith the seasonable month endows 
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ; 
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine ; 
Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves ; 
And mid-May's eldest child, 
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 

The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. 

Darkling I listen ; and for many a time 

I have been half in love with easeful Death, 
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme, 

To take into the air my quiet breath ; 
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 
To cease upon the midnight with no pain, 

While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad 
In such an ecstasy ! 
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain 
To thy high requiem become a sod. 

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird ! 

No hungry generations tread thee down ; 
The voice I hear this passing night was heard 

In ancient days by emperor and clown : 
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 

Through the sad heart of Euth, when sick for home, 
She stood in tears amid the alien corn ; 
The same that oft-times hath 
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 



308 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell 

To toll me back from thee to my sole self ! 
Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well 
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. 
Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades 
Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 
Up the hill-side ; and now 'tis buried deep 
In the next valley-glades : 
Was it a vision, or a waking dream ? 

Fled is that music : do I wake or sleep ? 





ODE ON A GRECIAN URN. 

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness ! 

Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, 
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express 

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme : 
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape 

Of deities or mortals, or of both, 
In Ternpe or the dales of Arcady ? 

What men or gods are these ? what maidens loath ? 
What mad pursuit ? What struggle to escape ? 

What pipes and timbrels ? What wild ecstasy ? 

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard 
Are sweeter ; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on ; 

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, 
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone : 

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare ; 



310 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, 
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve ; 
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, 
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair ! 




Ah, happy, happy boughs ! that cannot shed 

Tour leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu ; 
And, happy melodist, unwearied, 

For ever piping songs for ever new ; 
More happy love ! more happy, happy love ! 

For ever warm, and still to be enjoy'd, 
For ever pautiug and for ever young ; 
All breathing human passion far above, 

That leaves a heart high sorrowful and cloy'd, 
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 



Who are these coming to the sacrifice r 
To what green altar, O mysterious priest. 

Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, 
And all hex silken Hunks with garlanda dresi ? 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

What little town by river or sea-shore, 
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, 
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn ? 
And, little town, thy streets for evermore 
Will silent be ; and not a soul to tell 
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. 

O Attic shape ! Fair attitude ! with brede 

Of marble men and maidens overwrought, 
With forest branches and the trodden weed ; 

Thou, silent form ! dost tease us out of thought 
As doth eternity : Cold Pastoral ! 

When old age shall this generation waste, 
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other w r oe 

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, 
" Beauty is truth, truth beauty," that is all 
Te know on earth, and all ye need to know. 



311 





ODE TO PSYCHE. 

Goddess ! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung 
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear, 

And pardon that thy secrets should be sung, 
Even into thine own soft-couched ear : 

Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see 

The winged Psyche with awakeu'd eyes ? 

1 wander' d in a forest thoughtlessly, 

And, on the sudden, Glinting with surprise, 
Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side 

In deepest grass, beneath the whispering roof 

Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran 
A brooklet, scarce espied : 
'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers fragrant-eyed, 

Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyri.-m, 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 313 

They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass ; 
Their arms embraced, and their pinions too ; 
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu, 
As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber, 
And ready still past kisses to outnumber 
A t tender eye-dawn of aurorean love : 

The winged boy I knew ; 
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove ? 
His Psyche true ! 

O latest-born and loveliest vision far 

Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy ! 
Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-region'd star, 

Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky ; 
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none, 

Nor altar heap'd with flowers ; 
Nor Virgin-choir to make delicious moan 

Upon the midnight hours ; 
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet 

From chain-swung censer teeming ; 
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat 

Of pale-mouth' d prophet dreaming. 

brightest ! though too late for antique vows, 
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre, 

When holy were the haunted forest boughs, 
Holy the air, the water, and the fire ; 

Yet even in these days so far retired 
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans, 
Fluttering among the faint Olympians, 

1 see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired. 
So let me be thy choir, and make a moati 

Upon the midnight hours ! 



3U MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet 

From swinged censer teeming : 
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat 

Of pale-mouth' d prophet dreaming. 

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane 

In some untrodden region of my mind, 
"Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleasant pain, 

Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind : 
Tar, far around shall those dark-cluster' d trees 

Hedge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep ; 
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees, 

The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep ; 
And in the midst of this wide quietness 
A rosy sanctuary will I dress 
With the wreathed trellis of a working brain, 

With buds, and bells, and stars without a name, 
With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign, 

Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same : 
And there shall be for thee all soft delight 

That shadowy thought can win, 
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night, 
To let the warm Love in ! 




FANCY. 


Ever let the Fancy roam, 
Pleasure never is at home : 
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth, 
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth ; 
Then let winged Fancy wander 
Through the thought still spread beyond her : 
Open wide the mind's cage door, 
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar. 
O sweet Fancy ! let her loose ; 
Summer's joys are spoilt by use, 
And the enjoying of the Spring 
Fades as does its blossoming : 
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too, 
Blushing through the mist and dew, 
Cloys with tasting : What do then ? 
Sit thee by the ingle, when 
The sear faggot blazes bright, 
Spirit of a winter's night ; 
When the soundless earth is muffled, 
And the caked snow is shuffled 
From the ploUghboy's heavy shoon ; 
When the Night doth meet the Noon 
In a dark conspiracy 
To banish Even from her sky. 



316 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Sit thee there, and send abroad, 

With a mind self-overawed, 

Fancy, high-commission' d : send her ! 

She has vassals to attend her : 

She will bring, in spite of frost, 

Beauties that the earth hath lost ; 

She will bring thee, all together, 

All delights of summer weather ; 

All the buds and bells of May, 

Prom dewy sward or thorny spray ; 

All the heaped Autumn's wealth, 

With a still, mysterious stealth : 

She will mix these pleasures up 

Like three fit wines in a cup, 

And thou shalt quaff it : thou shalt hear 

Distant harvest-carols clear ; 

Rustle of the reaped corn ; 

Sweet birds antheming the morn : 

And, in the same moment hark ! 

'Tis the early April lark, 

Or the rooks, with busy caw, 

Foraging for sticks and straw. 

Thou shalt, at one glance, behold 

The daisy and the marigold ; 

White-plumed lilies, and the first 

Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst ; 

Shaded hyacinth, alway 

Sapphire queen of the mid-May ; 

And every leaf, and every flower 

Pearl' d with the self-same shower. 

Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep 

Meagre from its celled sleep ; 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 317 

And the snake all winter- thin 
Cast on sunny bank its skin ; 
Freckled nest eggs thou shalt see 
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree, 
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest 
Quiet on her mossy nest ; 
Then the hurry and alarm 
When the bee-hive casts its swarm ; 
Acorns ripe down-pattering 
While the autumn breezes sing. 

Oh, sweet Fancy ! let her loose ; 
Every thing is spoilt by use : 
Where's the cheek that doth not fade, 
Too much gazed at ? Where's the maid 
Whose lip mature is ever new ? 
Where's the eye, however blue, 
Doth not weary ? Where's the face 
One would meet in every place ? 
Where's the voice, however soft, 
One would hear so very oft ? 
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth 
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth. 
Let, then, winged Fancy find 
Thee a mistress to thy mind : 
Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter, 
Ere the God of Torment taught her 
How to frown and how to chide ; 
With a waist and with a side 
White as Hebe's, when her zone 
Slipt its golden clasp, and down 
Fell her kirtle to her feet, 



318 



M ISCKLLANKOUS POEMS. 



AVhile she held the goblet sweet, 

And Jove grew languid. Break the mesh 

Of the Fancy's silken leash ; 

Quickly break her prison-string, 

And such joys as these she'll bring. 

Let the winged Fancy roam, 

Pleasure never is at home. 




ODE. 

Bards of Passion and of Mirth, 
Ye have left your souls on earth ! 
Have ye souls in heaven too, 
Double-lived in regions new ? 
Yes, and those of heaven commune 
With the spheres of sun and moon ; 
With the noise of fountains wondrous, 
And the parle of voices thund'rous ; 
With the whisper of heaven's trees 
And one another, in soft ease 
Seated on Elysian lawus 
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns ; 
Underneath large blue-bells tented, 
Where the daisies are rose-scented, 
And the rose herself has got 
Perfume which on earth is not ; 
Where the nightingale doth sing 
Not a senseless, tranced thing, 
But divine melodious truth ; 
Philosophic numbers smooth ; 
Tales and golden histories 
Of heaven and its mysteries. 



320 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Thus ye live on high, and then 
On the earth ye live again ; 
And the souls ye left behind you 
Teach us, here, the way to find you, 
Where your other souls are joying, 
Never slumber'd, never cloying. 
Here, your earth-born souls still speak 
To mortals, of their little week ; 
Of their sorrows and delights ; 
Of their passions and their spites ; 
Of their glory and their shame ; 
What doth strengthen and what maim. 
Thus ye teach us, every day, 
Wisdom, though fled far away. 

Bards of Passion and of Mirth, 
Ye have left your souls on earth ! 
Ye have souls in heaven too, 
Double-lived in regions new ! 





TO AUTUMN. 

Season of mists and mellow fruitf ulness ! 

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun ; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves ruu ; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core ; 
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 

With a sweet kernel ; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 

For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. 



TT 



322 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store ? 

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind ; 
Or on a half-reap' d furrow sound asleep, 

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers ; 
And sometime like a gleaner thou dost keep 

Steady thy laden head across a brook ; 

Or by a cider-press, with patient look, 
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of Spring ? Ay, where are they ? 

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue ; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 

Among the river sallows, borne aloft 

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies ; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn ; 

Hedge-crickets sing ; and now with treble soft 

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 




ODE ON MELANCHOLY. 

No, no ! go not to Lethe, neither twist 

Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine 
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd 

By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine ; 
Make not your rosary of yew-berries, 

Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be 
Tour mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl 
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries ; 

Eor shade to shade will come too drowsily, 
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. 

But when the melancholy fit shall fall 

Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, 
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all, 

And hides the green hill in an April shroud ; 
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, 

Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave, 
Or on the wealth of globed peonies ; 
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, 

Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave, 
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes. 



324 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

She dwells with Beauty Beauty that must die ; 

And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips 
Bidding adieu ; and aching Pleasure nigh, 

Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips : 
Ay, in the very temple of Delight 

Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine, 

Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue 

Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine ; 
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might, 
And be among her cloudy trophies hung. 




LINES ON THE MERMAID TAVERN. 

Souls of poets dead and gone, 
What Elysium have ye known, 
Happy field or mossy cavern, 
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ? 
Have ye tippled drink more fine 
Than mine host's Canary wine ? 
Or are fruits of Paradise 
Sweeter than those dainty pies 
Of venison ? O generous food ! 
Drest as though bold Robin Hood 
Would, with his maid Marian, 
Sup and bowse from horn and can. 

I have heard that on a day 
Mine host's sign-board flew away, 
Nobody knew whither, till 
An astrologer's old quill 
To a sheepskin gave the story, 
Said he saw you in your glory, 
Underneath a new old-sign 
Sipping beverage divine, 



326 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

And pledging with contented smack 
The Mermaid in the Zodiac. 



Souls of poets dead and gone, 
What Elysium have ye known, 
Happy field or mossy cavern, 
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ? 




ROBIN HOOD. 



TO A FEIEND. 



No ! those days are gone awaj, 
And their hours are old and grey, 
And their minutes buried all 
Under the down-trodden pall 
Of the leaves of many years : 
Many times have Winter's shears, 
Frozen North, and chilling East, 
Sounded tempests to the feast 
Of the forest's whispering fleeces, 
Since men knew nor rent nor leases. 

No, the bugle sounds no more, 
And the twanging bow no more ; 
Silent is the ivory shrill 
Past the heath and up the hill ; 
There is no mid-forest laugh, 
Where lone Echo gives the half 
To some wight, amazed to hear 
Jesting, deep in forest drear. 

On the fairest time of June 
You may go, with sun or moon, 



328 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Or the seven stars to light you, 
Or the polar ray to right you ; 
But you never may behold 
Little John, or Robin bold ; 
Never one, of all the clan, 
Thrumming on an empty can, 
Some old hunting ditty, while 
He doth his green way beguile 
To fair hostess Merriment, 
Down beside the pasture Trent ; 
For he left the merry tale, 
Messenger for spicy ale. 

Gone, the merry morris din ; 
Gone, the song of Gamely n ; 
Gone, the tough-belted outlaw 
Idling in the " grene shawe ; " 
All are gone away and past ! 
And if Robin should be cast 
Sudden from his tufted grave, 
And if Marian should have 
Once again her forest days, 
She would weep, and he would craze : 
He would swear, for all his oaks, 
Fall'n beneath the dock-yard strokes, 
Have rotted on the briny seas ; 
She would weep that her wild bees 
Sang not to her strange ! that honey 
Can't be got without hard money ! 

So it is ; yet let us sing 
Honour to the old bow-string ! 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 329 

Honour to the bugle-horn ! 
Honour to the woods unshorn ! 
Honour to the Lincoln green ! 
Honour to the archer keen ! 
Honour to tight Little John, 
And the horse he rode upon ! 
Honour to bold Eobin Hood, 
Sleeping in the underwood ! 
Honour to Maid Marian, 
And to all the Sherwood clan ! 
Though their days have hurried by, 
Let us two a burden try. 





SLEEP AND POETEY. 



As I lay in my bed slepe full unmcte 

Was unto me, but why that I nc might 

Rest I ne wist, for there n' as erthly wight 

(As I suppose) had more of hertis cse 

Than I, for I n' ad sickuesse nor disese. Chaucer. 



What is more gentle than a wind in summer ? 
"What is more soothing than the pretty hummer 
That stays one moment in an open flower, 
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower? 
What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing 
In a green island, far from all men's knowing ? 
More healthful than the leafiness of dales ? 
More secret than a nest of nightingales ? 
More serene than Cordelia's countenance ? 
More full of visions than a high romance ? 
What, but thee, Sleep ? Soft closer of our eyes ! 
Low murmurer of tender lullabies ! 
Light hoverer around our happy pillows ! 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 331 

Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows ! 
Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses ! 
Most happy listener ! when the morning blesses 
Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes 
That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise. 

But what is higher beyond thought than thee ? 
Fresher than berries of a mountain-tree ? 
More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal, 
Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle ? 
"What is it ? And to what shall I compare it ? 
It has a glory, and nought else can share it : 
The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy, 
Chasing away all worldliness and folly : 
Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder ; 
Or the low rumblings earth's regions under ; 
And sometimes like a gentle whispering 
Of all the secrets of some wondrous thing 
That breathes about us in the vacant air ; 
So that we look around with prying stare, 
Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial limning ; 
And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning ; 
To see the laurel- wreath, on high suspended, 
That is to crown our name when life is ended. 
Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice, 
And from the heart up-springs, rejoice ! rejoice ! 
Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things, 
And die away in ardent mutterings. 

No one who once the glorious sun has seen, 
And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean 
For his great Maker's presence, but must know 



332 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

What 'tis I mean, and feel his being glow : 
Therefore no insult will I give his spirit, 
By telling what he sees from native merit. 

O Poesy ! for thee I hold my pen, 
That am not yet a glorious denizen 
Of thy wide heaven should I rather kneel 
Upon some mountain-top until I feel 
A glowing splendour round about me hung, 
And echo back the voice of thine own tongue ? 
O Poesy ! for thee I grasp my pen, 
That am not yet a glorious denizen 
Of thy wide heaven ; yet, to my ardent prayer, 
Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air, 
Smooth' d for intoxication by the breath 
Of flowering bays, that I may die a death 
Of luxury, and my young spirit follow 
The morning sunbeams to the great Apollo, 
Like a fresh sacrifice ; or, if I can bear 
The o'erwhelming sweets, 'twill bring me to the fair 
Visions of all places : a bowery nook 
Will be elysium an eternal book 
Whence I may copy many a lovely saying 
About the leaves, and flowers about the playing 
Of nymphs in woods, and fountains ; and the shade 
Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid ; 
And many a verse from so strange influence 
That we must ever wonder how, and whence 
It came. Also imaginings will hover 
Round my fire-side, and haply there discover 
Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander 
In happy silence, like the clear Meander 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 333 

Through its lone vales ; and where I found a spot 
Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot, 
Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer' d dress 
Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness, 
Write on my tablets all that was permitted, 
All that was for our human senses fitted. 
Then the events of this wide world I'd seize 
Like a strong giant, and my spirit tease 
Till at its shoulders it should proudly see 
Wings to find out an immortality. 

Stop and consider ! life is but a day ; 
A fragile dewdrop on its perilous way 
From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep 
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep 
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan ? 
Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown ; 
The reading of an ever-changing tale ; 
The light uplifting of a maiden's veil ; 
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air ; 
A laughing school-boy, without grief or care, 
Biding the springy branches of an elm. 

O for ten years, that I may overwhelm 
Myself in poesy ! so I may do the deed 
That my own soul has to itself decreed. 
Then I will pass the countries that I see 
In long perspective, and continually 
Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I'll pass 
Of Flora, and Old Pan : sleep in the grass, 
Feed upon apples red, and strawberries, 
And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees, 



334 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places, 

To woo sweet kisses from averted faces, 

Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white 

Into a pretty shrinking with a bite 

As hard as lips can make it : till agreed, 

A lovely tale of human life we'll read. 

And one will teach a tame dove how it best 

May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest : 

Another, bending o'er her nimble tread, 

"Will set a green robe floating round her head, 

And still will dance with ever-varied ease, 

Smiling upon the flowers and the trees : 

Another will entice me on, and on, 

Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon ; 

Till in the bosom of a leafy world 

We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl'd 

In the recesses of a pearly shell. 

And can I ever bid these joys farewell ? 
Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life, 
Where I may find the agonies, the strife 
Of human hearts : for lo ! I see afar, 
O'er-sailing the blue cragginess, a car 
And steeds with streamy manes the charioteer 
Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear : 
And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly 
Along a huge cloud's ridge ; and now with sprightly 
"Wheel downward come they into fresher skies, 
Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes. 
Still downward with capacious whirl they glide ; 
And now I see them on a green-hill side 
In breezy rest among the nodding stalks. 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 335 

The charioteer with wondrous gesture talks 

To the trees and mountains ; and there soon appear 

Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear, 

Passing along before a dusky space 

Made by some mighty oaks ; as they would chase 

Some ever-fleeting music, on they sweep. 

Lo ! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep : 

Some with upholden hand and mouth severe ; 

Some with their faces muffled to the ear 

Between their arms ; some clear in youthful bloom, 

Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom ; 

Some looking back, and some with upward gaze ; 

Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways 

Flit onward now a lovely wreath of girls 

Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls ; 

And now broad wings. Most awfully intent 

The driver of those steeds is forward bent, 

And seems to listen : O that I might know 

All that he writes with such a hurrying glow ! 

The visions all are fled the car is fled 
Into the light of heaven, and in their stead 
A sense of real things comes doubly strong, 
And, like a muddy stream, would bear along 
My soul to nothingness : but I will strive 
Against all doubtings, and will keep alive 
The thought of that same chariot, and the strange 
Journey it went. 

Is there so small a range 
In the present strength of manhood, that the high 
Imagination cannot freely fly 



336 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

As she was wont of old ? prepare her steeds, 
Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds 
Upon the clouds ? Has she not shown us all ? 
From the clear space of ether, to the small 
Breath of new buds unfolding ? From the meaning 
Of Jove's large eyebrow, to the tender greening 
Of April meadows ? here her altar shone, 
E'en in this isle ; and who could paragon 
The fervid choir that lifted up a noise 
Of harmony, to where it aye will poise 
Its mighty self of convoluting sound, 
Huge as a planet, and like that roll round, 
Eternally around a dizzy void ? 
Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd 
With honours ; nor had any other care 
Than to sing out and soothe their wavy hair. 

Could all this be forgotten ? Yes, a schism 
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism, 
Made great Apollo blush for this his land. 
Men were thought wise who could not understand 
His glories : with a puling infant's force 
They sway'd about upon a rocking-horse, 
And thought it Pegasus. Ah, dismal-soul'd ! 
The winds of heaven blew, the ocean roll'd 
Its gathering waves ye felt it not. The blue 
Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew 
Of summer night collected still to make 
The morning precious : Beauty was awake ! 
Why were ye not awake ? But ye were dead 
To things ye knew not of, were closely wed 
To musty laws lined out with mulched role 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 33? 

And compass vile : so that ye taught a school 
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit, 
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, 
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task : 
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask 
Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race ! 
That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face, 
And did not know it, no, they went about, 
Holding a poor, decrepit standard out, 
Mark'd with most flimsy mottoes, and in large 
The name of one Boileau ! 

O ye whose charge 
It is to hover round our pleasant hills ! 
Whose congregated majesty so fills 
My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace 
Your hallow'd names, in this unholy place, 
So near those common folk ; did not their shames 
Affright you ? Did our old lamenting Thames 
Delight you ? did ye never cluster round 
Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound, 
And weep ? Or did ye wholly bid adieu 
To regions where no more the laurel grew ? 
Or did ye stay to give a welcoming 
To some lone spirits who could proudly sing 
Their youth away, and die ? 'Twas even so : 
But let me think away those times of woe : 
Now 'tis a fairer season ; ye have breathed 
Rich benedictions o'er us ; ye have wreathed 
Fresh garlands : for sweet music has been heard 
In many places ; some has been upstirr'd 
Prom out its crystal dwelling in a lake, 



8 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

By a swan's ebon bill ; from a thick brake, 

Nested and quiet in a valley mild, 

Bubbles a pipe ; fine sounds are floating wild 

About the earth : happy are ye and glad. 

These things are, doubtless : yet in truth we've had 

Strange thunders from the potency of song ; 

Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong, 

"From majesty : but in clear truth the themes 

Are ugly cubs, the Poets' Polyphemes 

Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower 

Of light is poesy ; 'tis the supreme of power ; 

'Tis might half slumbering on its own right arm. 

The very archings of her eyelids charm 

A thousand willing agents to obey, 

And still she governs with the mildest sway : 

But strength alone though of the Muses born 

Is like a fallen angel : trees uptorn, 

Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres 

Delight it ; for it feeds upon the burrs 

And thorns of life ; forgetting the great end 

Of poesy, that it should be a friend 

To soothe the cares, and lift the thoughts of man. 

Yet I rejoice : a myrtle fairer than 
E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds 
Lifts its sweet heap into the air, and feeds 
A silent space with ever- sprouting green. 
All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen, 
Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering, 
Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing. 
Then let us clear away the choking thorns 
From round its gentle stem ; let the young fawns 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 339 

Yeaned in after-times, when we are flown, 
Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown 
With simple flowers : let there nothing be 
More boisterous than a lover's bended knee ; 
Nought more ungentle than the placid look 
Of one who leans upon a closed book ; 
Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes 
Between two hills. All hail, delightful hopes ! 
As she was wont, th' imagination 
Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone, 
And they shall be accounted poet kings 
"Who simply tell the most heart-easing things. 
O may these joys be ripe before I die ! 

Will not some say that I presumptuously 
Have spoken ? that from hastening disgrace 
'Twere better far to hide my foolish face ? 
That whining boyhood should with reverence bow 
Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach me ? How ! 
If I do hide myself, it sure shall be 
In the very fane, the light of Poesy : 
If I do fall, at least I will be laid 
Beneath the silence of a poplar shade ; 
And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven ; 
And there shall be a kind memorial graven. 
But off, Despondence ! miserable bane ! 
They should not know thee, who athirst to gain 
A noble end, are thirsty every hour. 
What though I am not wealthy in the dower 
Of spanning wisdom ; though I do not know 
The shiftings of the mighty winds that blow 
Hither and thither all the changing thoughts 



340 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Of man : though no great ministering reason sorts 

Out the dark mysteries of human souls 

To clear conceiving : yet there ever rolls 

A vast idea before me, and I glean 

Therefrom my liberty ; thence too I've seen 

The end and aim of Poesy. 'Tis clear 

As anything most true ; as that the year 

Is made of the four seasons manifest 

As a large cross, some old cathedral's crest, 

Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I 

Be but the essence of deformity, 

A coward, did my very eyelids wink 

At speaking out what I have dared to think. 

Ah ! rather let me like a madman run 

Over some precipice ; let the hot sun 

Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down 

Convulsed and headlong ? Stay ! an inward frown 

Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile. 

An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle, 

Spreads awfully before me. How much toil ! 

How many days ! what desperate turmoil ! 

Ere I can have explored its widenesses. 

Ah, what a task ! upon my bended knees, 

I could unsay those no, impossible ! 

Impossible ! 

For sweet relief I'll dwell 
On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay 
Begun in gentleness die so away. 
E'en now all tumult from my bosom fades : 
I turn full-hearted to the friendly aids 
That smooth the path of honour ; brotherhood, 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



341 



And friendliness, the nurse of mutual good. 

The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet 

Into the brain ere one can think upon it ; 

The silence when some rhymes are coming out ; 

And when they're come, the very pleasant rout : 

The message certain to be done to-morrow. 

'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow 

Some precious book from out its snug retreat, 

To cluster round it when we next shall meet. 

Scarce can I scribble on ; for lovely airs 

Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs ; 

Many delights of that glad day recalling, 

When first my senses caught their tender falling. 

And with these airs come forms of elegance 




342 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance, 
Careless, and grand fingers soft and round 
Parting luxuriant curls ; and the swift bound 
Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye 
Made Ariadne's cheek look blushingly. 
Thus I remember all the pleasant flow 
Of words at opening a portfolio. 

Things such as these are ever harbingers 
To trains of peaceful images : the stirs 
Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes : 
A linnet starting all about the bushes : 
A butterfly, with golden wings broad-parted, 
Nestling a rose, convulsed as though it smarted 
With over-pleasure many, many more, 
Might I indulge at large in all my store 
Of luxuries : yet I must not forget 
Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet : 
For what there may be worthy in these rhymes 
I partly owe to him : and thus, the chimes 
Of friendly voices had just given place 
To as sweet a silence, when I 'gan retrace 
The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease. 
It was a poet's house who keeps the keys 
Of pleasure's temple round about were hung 
The glorious features of the bards who sung 
In other ages cold and sacred busts 
Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts 
To clear Futurity his darling fame ! 
Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim 
At swelling apples with a frisky leap 
And reaching fingers, 'mid a luscious heap 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 343 

Of vine-leaves. Then there rose to view a fane 

Of liney marble, and thereto a train 

Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward : 

One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward 

The dazzling sun-rise : two sisters sweet 

Bending their graceful figures till they meet 

Over the trippings of a little child : 

And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild 

Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping. 

See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping 

Cherishingly Diana's timorous limbs ; 

A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims 

At the bath's edge, and keeps a gentle motion 

With the subsiding crystal : as when ocean 

Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothness o'er 

Its rocky marge, and balances once more 

The patient weeds ; that now unshent by foam 

Feel all about their undulating home. 

Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down 

At nothing ; just as though the earnest frown 

Of over-thinking had that moment gone 

From off her brow, and left her all alone. 

Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes, 
As if he always listen'd to the sighs 
Of the goaded world ; and Kosciusko's, worn 
By horrid suffrance mightily forlorn. 

Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green, 
Starts at the sight of Laura ; nor can wean 
His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they ! 
For over them was seen a free display 



344 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Of outspread wings, and from between them shone 

The face of Poesy j from off her throne 

She overlook' d things that I scarce could tell, 

The very sense of where I was might well 

Keep sleep aloof: but more than that there came 

Thought after thought to nourish up the flame 

"Within my breast ; so that the morning light 

Surprised me even from a sleepless night ; 

And up I rose refresh' d, and glad, and gay, 

Eesolving to begin that very day 

These lines ; and howsoever they be done, 

I leave them as a father does his son. 





STANZAS. 



In a drear-nighted December, 

Too happy, happy tree, 

Thy branches ne'er remember 

Their green felicity : 

The north cannot undo them, 

With a sleety whistle through them 

Nor frozen thawings glue them 

From budding at the prime. 



346 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

J 11 a drear-nigh ted December, 

Too happy, happy brook, 

Thy babblings ne'er remember 

Apollo's summer look ; 

But with a sweet forgetting, 

They stay their crystal fretting, 

Never, never petting 

About the frozen time. 

Ah ! would 'twere so with many 
A gentle girl and boy ! 
But were there ever any 
Writhed not at passed joy ? 
To know the change and feel it, 
When there is none to heal it, 
Nor numbed sense to steal it, 
Was never said in rhyme. 




EPISTLES. 




Among the rest a shepherd (though but young 
Yet hartued to his pipe) with all the skill 
His few yeeres could, began to fill his quill. 

Britannia's Pastorals. B RO w n e . 



TO GEORGE FELTON MATHEW. 

Sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong, 
And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song ; 
Nor can remembrance, Mathew ! bring to view 
A fate more pleasing, a delight more true 
Than that in which the brother poets joy'd, 
Who, with combined powers, their wit employ'd 
To raise a trophy to the drama's muses. 
The thought of this great partnership diffuses 
Over the genius-loving heart, a feeling 
Of all that's high, and great, and good, and healing. 
Too partial friend ! fain would I follow thee 
Past each horizon of fine poesy ; 



348 EPISTLES. 

Fain would I echo back each pleasant note 
As o'er Sicilian seas, clear anthems float 
'Mong the light skimming gondolas far parted, 
Just when the sun his farewell beam has darted : 
But 'tis impossible ; far different cares 
Beckon me sternly from soft " Lydian airs," 
And hold my faculties so long in thrall, 
That I am oft in doubt whether at all 
I shall again see Phoebus in the morning : 
Or flush' d Aurora in the roseate dawning ! 
Or a white Naiad in a rippling stream ; 
Or a rapt seraph in a moonlight beam ; 
Or again witness what with thee I've seen, 
The dew by fairy feet swept from the green, 
After a night of some quaint jubilee 
Which every elf and fay had come to see : 
When bright processions took their airy inarch 
Beneath the curved moon's triumphal arch. 

But might I now each passing moment give 
To the coy Muse, with me she would not live 
In this dark city, nor would condescend 
'Mid contradictions her delights to lend. 
Should e'er the fine-eyed maid to me be kind, 
Ah ! surely it must be whene'er I find 
Some flowery spot, sequester'd, wild, romantic, 
That often must have seen a poet frantic ; 
Where oaks, that erst the Druid knew, are growing, 
And flowers, the glory of one day, arc blowing ; 
Where the dark-leaved laburnum's drooping clusters 
Reflect athwart the stream their yellow lustres, 
And intertwined the cassia's arms unite, 



EPISTLES. 340 

With its own drooping buds, but very white. 

AVhere on one side are covert branches hung, 

'Mong which the nightingales have always sung 

In leafy quiet ; where to pry, aloof 

Atween the pillars of the sylvan roof, 

Would be to find where violet beds were nestling, 

And where the bee with cowslip bells was wrestling. 

There must be too a ruin dark and gloomy, 

To say " Joy not too much in all that's bloomy." 

Yet this is vain O Mathew ! lend thy aid 
To find a place where I may greet the maid 
AVhere we may soft humanity put on, 
And sit, and rhyme, and think on Chatterton ; 
And that warm-hearted Shakspeare sent to meet him 
Four laurell'd spirits, heavenward to entreat him. 
With reverence would we speak of all the sages 
Who have left streaks of light athwart their ages : 
And thou shouldst moralise on Milton's blindness, 
And mourn the fearful dearth of human kindness 
To those who strove with the bright golden wing 
Of genius, to flap away each sting 
Thrown by the pitiless world. We next could tell 
Of those who in the cause of freedom fell ; 
Of our own Alfred, of Helvetian Tell ; 
Of him whose name to every heart's a solace, 
High-minded and unbending William Wallace. 
While to the rugged north our musing turns, 
We well might drop a tear for him and Burns. 
Felton ! without incitements such as these, 
How vain for me the niggard Muse to tease ! 
Tor thee, she will thy every dwelling grace, 



350 EPISTLES. 

And make " a sunshine in a shady place : " 
For thou wast once a flow'ret blooming wild, 
Close to the source, bright, pure, and undefiled, 
Whence gush the streams of song : in happy hour 
Came chaste Diana from her shady bower, 
Just as the sun was from the east uprising ; 
And, as for him some gift she was devising, 
Beheld thee, pluck'd thee, cast thee in the stream 
To meet her glorious brother's greeting beam. 
I marvel much that thou hast never told 
How, from a flower, into a fish of gold 
Apollo changed thee : how thou next didst seem 
A black-eyed swan upon the widening stream ; 
And when thou first didst in that mirror trace 
The placid features of a human face ; 
That thou hast never told thy travels strange, 
And all the wonders of the mazy range 
O'er pebbly crystal, and o'er golden sands ; 
Kissing thy daily food from Naiads' pearly hands. 

November, 1815. 










EPISTLES. 351 



TO MY BKOTHEK GEORGE. 



Full many a dreary hour have I past, 

My brain bewilder'd, and my mind o'ercast 

AVith heaviness ; in seasons when I've thought 

No sphery strains by me could e'er be caught 

From the blue dome, though I to dimness gaze 

On the far depth where sheeted lightning plays ; 

Or, on the wavy grass outstretch' d supinely, 

Pry 'mong the stars, to strive to think divinely : 

That I should never hear Apollo's song, 

Though feathery clouds were floating all along 

The purple west, and, two bright streaks between, 

The golden lyre itself were dimly seen : 

That the still murmur of the honey-bee 

Would never teach a rural song to me : 

That the bright glance from beauty's eyelids slanting 

Would never make a lay of mine enchanting, 

Or warm my breast with ardour to unfold 

Some tale of love and arms in time of old. 

But there are times, when those that love the bay, 
Fly from all sorrowing far, far away ; 
A sudden glow comes on them, nought they see 
In water, earth, or air, but poesy. 



352 EPISTLK.v 

It has been said, dear George, and true I hold it, 
(For knightly Spenser to Libertas told it,) 
That when a Poet is in such a trance, 
In air he sees white coursers paw and prance, 
Bestridden of gay knights, in gay apparel, 
"Who at each other tilt in playful quarrel ; 
And what we, ignorantly, sheet-lightning call, 
Is the swift opening of their wide portal, 
When the bright warder blows his trumpet clear, 
AVhose tones reach nought on earth but poet's ear, 
When these enchanted portals open wide, 
And through the light the horsemen swiftly glide, 
The Poet's eye can reach those golden halls, 
And view the glory of their festivals : 
Their ladies fair, that in the distance seem 
Fit for the silvering of a seraph's dream ; 
Their rich brimm'd goblets, that incessant run, 
Like the bright spots that move about the suu ; 
And when upheld, the wine from each bright jar 
Pours with the lustre of a falling star. 
Yet further off are dimly seen their bowers, 
Of which no mortal eye can reach the flowers ; 
And 'tis right just, for well Apollo knows 
'Twould make the Poet quarrel with the rose. 
All that's reveal'd from that far seat of blisses, 
Is, the clear fountains' interchanging kisses, 
As gracefully descending, light and thin, 
Like silver streaks across a dolphin's fin, 
When he upswimmeth from the coral caves, 
And sports with half his tail above the waves. 

These wonders strange he sees, and many more, 



EPISTLES. 353 

Whose head is pregnant with poetic lore : 

Should he upon an evening ramble fare 

With forehead to the soothing breezes bare, 

Would he nought see but the dark, silent blue, 

With all its diamonds trembling through and through ? 

Or the coy moon, when in the waviness 

Of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress, 

And staidly paces higher up, and higher, 

Like a sweet nun in holiday attire ? 

Ah, yes ! much more would start into his sight 

The revelries and mysteries of night : 

And should I ever see them, I will tell you 

Such tales as needs must with amazement spell you. 

These are the living pleasures of the bard : 
But richer far posterity's award. 
What does he murmur with his latest breath, 
While his proud eye looks through the film of death ? 
" What though I leave this dull and earthly mould, 
Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold 
With after times. The patriot shall feel 
My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel ; 
Or in the senate thunder out my numbers, 
To startle princes from their easy slumbers. 
The sage will mingle with each moral theme 
My happy thoughts sententious : he will teem 
With lofty periods when my verses fire him, 
And then I'll stoop from heaven to inspire him. 
Lays have I left of such a dear delight 
That maids will sing them on their bridal-night. 
Gay villagers, upon a morn of May, 
When they have tired their gentle limbs with play, 



354 EPISTLES. 

And form'd a snowy circle on the grass, 
And placed in midst of all that lovely lass 
Who chosen is their queen, with her fine head 
Crowned with flowers purple, white, and red : 
For there the lily and the musk-rose sighing, 
Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying : 




.: :0-t^ >-~ 



Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble, 
A bunch of violets full blown, and double, 
Serenely sleep : she from a casket takes 
A little book, and then a joy awakes 
About each youthful heart, with stifled cries, 
And rubbing of white hands, and sparkling eyes: 
For she's to read a tale of hopes and fears ; 
One that I foster'd in mv vouthful years : 



EPISTLES. 355 

The pearls, that on each glistening circlet sleep, 

Gush ever and anon with silent creep, 

Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest 

Shall the dear babe, upon its mother's breast, 

Be lull'd with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu ! 

Thy dales and hills are fading from my view : 

Swiftly I mount, upon wide-spreading pinions, 

Far from the narrow bounds of thy dominions. 

Full joy I feel, while thus I cleave the air, 

That my soft verse will charm thy daughters fair, 

And warm thy sons !" Ah, my dear friend and brother, 

Could I, at once, my mad ambition smother, 

For tasting joys like these, sure I should be 

Happier, and dearer to society. 

At times, 'tis true, I've felt relief from pain 

When some bright thought has darted through my brain : 

Through all that day I've felt a greater pleasure 

Than if I had brought to light a hidden treasure. 

As to my sonnets, though none else should heed them, 

I feel delighted, still, that you should read them. 

Of late, too, I have had much calm enjoyment, 

Stretch' d on the grass at my best loved employment 

Of scribbling lines for you. These things I thought 

While, in my face, the freshest breeze I caught. 

E'en now I am pillow'd on a bed of flowers 

That crowns a lofty cliff, which proudly towers 

Above the ocean waves. The stalks and blades 

Chequer my tablet with their quivering shades. 

On one side is a field of drooping oats, 

Through which the poppies show their scarlet coats, 

So pert and useless, that they bring to mind 

The scarlet coats that pester human-kind. 



356 EPISTLES. 

And on the other side, outspread, is seen 

Ocean's blue mantle, streak'd with purple and green 

Now 'tis I see a canvass'd ship, and now 

Mark the bright silver curling round her prow. 

I see the lark down-dropping to his nest, 

And the broad- wing' d sea-gull never at rest ; 

For when no more he spreads his feathers free, 

His breast is dancing on the restless sea. 

Now I direct my eyes into the west, 

Which at this moment is in sun-beams drest : 

Why westward turn ? 'Twas but to say adieu ! 

'Tvvas but to kiss my hand, dear George, to you ! 

August, 1816. 




EPISTLES. 357 



TO CHAELES COWDEN CLARKE. 

Oft have you seen a swan superbly frowning, 

And with proud breast his own white shadow crowning 

He slants his neck beneath the waters bright 

So silently, it seems a beam of light 

Come from the galaxy : anon he sports, 

"With outspread wings the Naiad Zephyr courts, 

Or ruffles all the surface of the lake 

In striving from its crystal face to take 

Some diamond water-drops, and them to treasure 

In milky nest, and sip them off at leisure. 

But not a moment can he there ensure them, 

Nor to such downy rest can he allure them ; 

For down they rush as though they would be free, 

And drop like hours into eternity. 

Just like that bird am I in loss of time, 

Whene'er I venture on the stream of rhyme ; 

With shatter' d boat, oar snapt, and canvas rent, 

I slowly sail, scarce knowing my intent ; 

Still scooping up the water with my fingers, 

In which a trembling diamond never lingers. 

By this, friend Charles, you may full plainly see 
Why I have never penn'd a line to thee : 



358 EPISTLES. 

Because my thoughts were never free and clear, 

And little fit to please a classic ear ; 

Because my wine was of too poor a savour 

For one whose palate gladdens in the flavour 

Of sparkling Helicon : small good it were 

To take him to a desert rude and bare, 

Who had on Bail's shore reclined at ease, 

While Tasso's page was floating in a breeze 

That gave soft music from Armida's bowers, 

Mingled with fragrance from her rarest flowers : 

Small good to one who had by Mulla's stream 

Fondled the maidens with the breasts of cream ; 

Who had beheld Belphcebe in a brook, 

And lovely Una in a leafy nook, 

And Archimago leaning o'er his book : 

Who had of all that's sweet tasted, and seen, 

From silvery ripple, up to beauty's queen ; 

From the sequester' d haunts of gay Titania, 

To the blue dwelling of divine Urania : 

One, who of late had ta'en sweet forest walks 

With him who elegantly chats and talks 

The wrong'd Libertas who has told you stories 

Of laurel chaplets, and Apollo's glories ; 

Of troops chivalrous prancing through a city, 

And tearful ladies, made for love and pity : 

With many else which I have never known. 

Thus have I thought; and days on days have flow n 

Slowly, or rapidly unwilling still 

For you to try my dull, unlearned quill. 

Nor should I now, but that I've known you long ; 

That you first taught me all the sweets of song : 

The grand, the sweet, the terse, the free, the fine : 



EPISTLES. 359 

What swell' d with pathos, and what right divine : 

Spenserian vowels that elope with ease, 

And float along like birds o'er summer seas : 

Miltonian storms, and more, Miltonian tenderness : 

Michael in arms, and more, meek Eve's fair slenderness. 

Who read for me the sonnet swelling loudly 

Up to its climax, and then dying proudly ? 

Who found for me the grandeur of the ode, 

Growing, like Atlas, stronger from its load ? 

Who let me taste that more than cordial dram, 

The sharp, the rapier-pointed epigram ? 

Show'd me that epic was of all the king, 

Hound, vast, and spanning all, like Saturn's ring ? 

You too up-held the veil from Clio's beauty, 

And pointed out the patriot's stern duty ; 

The might of Alfred, and the shaft of Tell ; 

The hand of Brutus, that so grandly fell 

Upon a tyrant's head. Ah ! had I never seen, 

Or known your kindness, what might I have been ? 

What my enjoyments in my youthful years, 

Bereft of all that now my life endears ? 

And can I e'er these benefits forget ? 

And can I e'er repay the friendly debt ? 

No, doubly no ; yet should these rhymings please, 

I shall roll on the grass with two-fold ease ; 

For I have long time been my fancy feeding 

With hopes that you would one day think the reading 

Of my rough verses not an hour mispent ; 

Should it e'er be so, what a rich content ! 

Some weeks have pass'd since last I saw the spires 

In lucent Thames reflected : warm desires 

To see the sun o'er-peep the eastern dimness, 



360 EPISTLES. 

And morning-shadows streaking into slimness 

Across the lawny fields, and pebbly water ; 

To mark the time as they grow broad and shorter ; 

To feel the air that plays about the hills, 

And sips its freshness from the little rills ; 

To see high, golden corn wave in the light 

"When Cynthia smiles upon a summer's night, 

And peers among the cloudlets, jet and white, 

As though she were reclining in a bed 

Of bean-blossoms, in heaven freshly shed. 

No sooner had I stepp'd into these pleasures, 

Than I began to think of rhymes and measures ; 

The air that floated by me seem'd to say 

" Write ! thou wilt never have a better day." 

And so I did. When many lines I'd written, 

Though with their grace I was not oversmitten, 

Yet, as my hand was warm, I thought I'd better 

Trust to my feelings, and write you a letter. 

Such an attempt required an inspiration 

Of a peculiar sort, a consummation ; 

Which, had I felt, these scribblings might have been 

Verses from which the soul would never ween ; 

But many days have past since last my heart 

Was warm'd luxuriously by divine Mozart; 

By Arne delighted, or by Handel madden' d ; 

Or by the song of Erin pierced and sadden'cl : 

What time you were before the music sitting, 

And the rich notes to each sensation fitting. 

Since I have walk'd with you through shady lams 

That freshly terminate in open plains, 

And revell'd in a chat that ceased not, 

When, at night-fall, among your books we got : 



EPISTLES. 361 

No, nor when supper came, nor after that, 

Nor when reluctantly I took my hat ; 

No, nor till cordially you shook my hand 

Mid-way between our homes : your accents bland 

Still sounded in my ears, when I no more 

Could hear your footsteps touch the gravelly floor. 

Sometimes I lost them, and then found again ; 

Tou changed the foot-path for the grassy plain. 

In those still moments I have wish'd you joys 

That well you know to honour : " Life's very toys 

With him," said I, " will take a pleasant charm ; 

It cannot be that aught will work him harm." 

These thoughts now come o'er me with all their might : 

Again I shake your hand, friend Charles, good night. 

September, 1816. 




3 A 




SONNETS. 



i. 

TO A FRIEND WHO SENT ME SOME ROSES 

As late I rambled in the happy fields, 

What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew 

From his lush clover covert ; when anew 
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields ; 
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields, 

A fresh-blown musk-rose ; 'twas the first that threw 

Its sweets upon the summer : graceful it grew 
As is the wand that queen Titania wields. 
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy, 

I thought the garden-rose it far excell'd ; 
But when, O Wells ! thy roses came to me, 

My sense with their deliciousness was spell'd : 
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea 

Whisper' d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell'il. 



SONNETS. 363 



TO MY BROTHER GEORGE. 



Many the wonders I this day have seen : 
The sun, when first he kist away the tears 
That fill'd the eyes of Morn ; the laurel' d peers 

Who from the feathery gold of evening lean ; 

The Ocean with its vastness, its blue green, 

Its ships, its rocks, its caves, its hopes, its fears,- 
Its voice mysterious, which whoso hears 

Must think on what will be, and what has been. 

E'en now, dear George, while this for you I write, 
Cynthia is from her silken curtains peeping 

So scantly, that it seems her bridal night, 
And she her half-discover' d revels keeping. 

But what, without the social thought of thee, 

Would be the wonders of the sky and sea ? 



Had I a man's fair form, then might my sighs 
Be echoed swiftly through that ivory shell 
Thine ear, and find thy gentle heart ; so well 

Would passion arm me for the enterprise : 

But ah ! 1 am no knight whose foeman dies ; 
No cuirass glistens on my bosom's swell ; 
I am no happy shepherd of the dell 

Whose lips have trembled with a maiden's eyes. 

Yet must I doat upon thee, call thee sweet, 
Sweeter by far than Hybla's honey' d roses 



364 SONNETS. 

When steep' d in dew rich to intoxication. 
Ah ! T will taste that dew, for me 'tis meet, 
And when the moon her pallid face discloses, 
I'll gather some by spells, and incantation. 



O Solitude ! if I must with thee dwell, 
Let it not be among the jumbled heap 
Of murky buildings : climb with me the steep, 

Nature's observatory whence the dell, 

In flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell, 
May seem a span ; let me thy vigils keep 
'Mongst boughs pavilion' d, where the deer's swift leap 

Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell. 

But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee, 
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind, 

"Whose words are images of thoughts refined, 
Is my soul's pleasure ; and it sure must be 

Almost the highest bliss of human-kind, 

When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee. 



How many bards gild the lapses of time ! 
A few of them have ever been the food 
Of my delighted fancy, I could brood 

Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime : 

And often, when I sit me down to rhyme, 

These will in throngs before my mind intrude : 
But no confusion, no disturbance rude 

Do they occasion ; 'tis a pleasing chime. 



SONNETS. 305 

So the unnumber'd sounds that evening store ; 

The songs of birds the whispering of the leaves 
The voice of waters the great bell that heaves 

AVith solemn sound, and thousand others more, 
That distance of recognizance bereaves, 

Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar. 



TO g. a. w. 

jNymph of the downward smile and sidelong glance ! 

In what diviner moments of the day 

Art thou most lovely ? when gone far astray 
Into the labyrinths of sweet utterance ? 
Or when serenely wandering in a trance 

Of sober thought ? Or when starting away, 

With careless robe to meet the morning ray, 
Thou sparest the flowers in thy mazy dance ? 
Haply 'tis when thy ruby lips part sweetly, 

And so remain, because thou listenest : 
But thou to please wert nurtured so completely 

That I can never tell what mood is best, 
I shall as soon pronounce which Grace more neatly 

Trips it before Apollo than the rest. 

Vtl. 
WRITTEN ON THE DAY THAT MR. LEIGH HUNT LEFT PRISON. 

What though, for showing truth to flatter'd state, 
Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he, 
In his immortal spirit, been as free 

As the sky-searching lark, and as elate. 

Minion of grandeur ! think you he did wait ? 



366 SONNETS. 

Think you he nought but prison-walls did see, 

Till, so unwilling, thou unturn'dst the key ? 
Ah, no ! far happier, nobler was his fate ! 
In Spenser's halls he stray'd, and bowers fair, 

Culling enchanted flowers ; and he flew 
With daring Milton through the fields of air : 

To regions of his own his genius true 
Took happy flights. Who shall his fame impair 
When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew ? 



TO MY BROTHER. 

Small, busy flames play through the fresh-laid coals, 

And their faint cracklings o'er our silence creep 

Like whispers of the household gods that keep 
A gentle empire o'er fraternal souls. 
And while, for rhymes, I search around the poles, 

Your eyes are fix'd, as in poetic sleep, 

Upon the lore so voluble and deep, 
That aye at fall of night our care condoles. 
This is your birth-day, Tom, and I rejoice 

That thus it passes smoothly, quietly : 
Many such eves of gently whispering noise 

May we together pass, and calmly try 
What are this world's true joys, ere the great Voice 

From its fair face shall bid our spirits fly. 



^y 



SONNETS. 367 




IX. 
ADDRESSED TO HAYDON. 



Higu-mindedness, a jealousy for good, 
A loving-kindness for the great man's fame, 
Dwells here and there with people of no name, 

In noisome alley, and in pathless wood : 

And where we think the truth least understood, 
Oft may be found a " singleness of aim," 
That ought to frighten into hooded shame 

A money-mongering, pitiable brood. 

How glorious this affection for the cause 
Of steadfast genius, toiling gallantly ! 

What when a stout unbending champion awes 
Envy, and malice to their native sty ? 

Unnumber'd souls breathe out a still applause, 
Proud to behold him in his country's eye. 



3(>8 SONNETS. 



x. 

ADDRESSED TO THE SAME. 

Great spirits now on earth are sojourning : 
He of the cloud, the cataract, the lake, 
Who on Helvellyn's summit, wide awake, 

Catches his freshness from Archangel's wing : 

He of the rose, the violet, the spring, 

The social smile, the chain for Freedom's sake 
And lo ! whose steadfastness would never take 

A meaner sound than Eaphael's whispering. 

And other spirits there are standing apart 
Upon the forehead of the age to come ; 

These, these will give the world another heart, 
And other pulses. Hear ye not the hum 

Of mighty workings ? 

Listen awhile, ye nations, and be dumb. 



XI. 
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S BOMB& 

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, 
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ; 
Round many western islands have I been 

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. 

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne 
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold i 



SONNETS. 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken ; 

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He stared at the Pacific and all his men 

Look'd at each other with a wild surmise 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. 



XII. 
ON LEAVING SOME FRIENDS AT AN EARLY HOUR. 

Give me a golden pen, and let me lean 

On heap'd-up flowers, in regions clear, and far: 
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star, 

Or hand of hymning angel, w r hen 'tis seen 

The silver strings of heavenly harp atween : 
And let there glide by many a pearly car, 
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar, 

And half-discover'd wings, and glances keen. 

The while let music wander round my ears, 
And as it reaches each delicious ending, 
Let me write down a line of glorious tone, 

And full of many wonders of the spheres : 
For what a height my spirit is contending ! 
'Tis not content so soon to be alone. 



Keen fitful gusts are w r hispering here and there 
Among the bushes, half leafless and dry ; 
The stars look very cold about the sky, 

And I have many miles on foot to fare ; 



3 B 



370 SONNETS. 

Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air. 

Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily, 

Or of those silver lamps that burn on high, 
Or of the distance from home's pleasant lair i 
Tor I am brimfull of the friendliness 

That in a little cottage I have found ; 
Of fair-hair' d Milton's eloquent distress, 

And all his love for gentle Lycid' drown' d ; 
Of lovely Laura in her light green dress, 

And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd. 



To one who has been long in city pent, 
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair 
And open face of heaven, to breathe a prayer 

Full in the smile of the blue firmament. 

Who is more happy, when, with heart's content, 
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair 
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair 

And gentle tale of love and languishment ? 

Returning home at evening, with an ear 
Catching the notes of Philomel, an eye 
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career, 
He mourns that day so soon has glided 1>\ ! 
E'en like the passage of an angel's tear 
That falls through the clear ether silently. 




SONNETS. 



371 




ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET. 



The poetry of earth is never dead : 

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, 
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run 

From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead : 

That is the grasshopper's he takes the lead 
In summer luxury, he has never done 
With his delights, for when tired out with fun, 

He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. 

The poetry of earth is ceasing never : 

On a lone winter evening, when the frost 

Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills 

The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, 
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, 

The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills. 



372 SONNETS. 



XVI. 
TO KOSCIUSKO. 

Good Kosciusko ! thy great name alone 

Is a full harvest whence to reap high feeling ; 
It comes upon us like the glorious pealing 

Of the wide spheres an everlasting tone. 

And now it tells me, that in worlds unknown, 

The names of heroes, burst from clouds concealing, 
Are changed to harmonies, for ever stealing 

Through cloudless blue, and round each silver throne. 

It tells me too, that on a happy day, 

When some good spirit walks upon the earth, 

Thy name with Alfred's, and the great of yore, 
Gently commingling, gives tremendous birth 

To a loud hymn, that sounds far, far away 

To where the great God lives for evermore. 



Happy is England ! I could be content 
To see no other verdure than its own ; 
To feel no other breezes than are blown 

Through its tall woods with high romances blent ; 

Yet do I sometimes feel a languishmcnt 
For skies Italian, and an inward groan 
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne, 

And half forget what world or worldling meant. 



SONNETS. 373 

Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters ; 

Enough their simple loveliness for me, 
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging : 

Yet do I often warmly burn to see 
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing, 

And float with them about the summer waters. 



THE HUMAN SEASONS. 

Your. Seasons fill the measure of the year ; 

There are four seasons in the mind of man : 
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear 

Takes in all beauty with an easy span : 
He has his Summer, when luxuriously 

Spring's honey' d cud of youthful thought he loves 
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high 

Is nearest unto heaven : quiet coves 
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings 

He furleth close ; contented so to look 
On mists in idleness to let fair things 

Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook. 
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature, 
Or else he would forego his mortal nature. 




374 



SONNETS. 




ON A PICTURE OF LEANDER. 



Come hither, all sweet maidens soberly, 

Down-looking aye, and with a chasten'd light, 
Hid in the fringes of your eyelids white, 
And meekly let your fair hands joined be, 
As if so gentle that ye could not see, 

Untouch' d, a victim of your beauty bright, 
Sinking away to his young spirit's night, 
Sinking bewilder'd 'mid the dreary sea : 
'Tis young Leander toiling to his death ; 

Nigh swooning, he doth purse his weary lips 
For Hero's cheek, and smiles against her smile. 

O horrid dream ! see how his body dips 
Dead-heavy ; arms and shoulders gleam awhile : 
He's gone ; up bubbles all his amorous breath ! 



SONNETS. 375 



xx. 

TO AILSA ROCK. 



Hearken, thou craggy ocean pyramid ! 

Give answer from thy voice, the sea-fowl's screams ! 

When were thy shoulders mantled in huge streams ! 
When, from the sun, was thy broad forehead hid ? 
How long is't since the mighty power bid 

Thee heave to airy sleep from fathom dreams ? 

Sleep in the lap of thunder or sun-beams, 
Or when grey clouds are thy cold cover-lid ? 
Thou answer' st not, for thou art dead asleep ! 

Thy life is but two dead eternities 
The last in air, the former in the deep ; 

First with the whales, last with the eagle-skies 
Drown' d wast thou till an earthquake made thee steep, 

Another cannot wake thy giant size. 




BRADBURY AND EVAN8, 

(INTERS EXTRAORDINARY TO THE QUEEN, 

WHITEFRIARS. 



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